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Round 3 Advice from Harvard Business School Admissions Director

In a recent post to her Director’s Blog, Harvard Business School (HBS) Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold provided advice to prospective applicants wondering whether they should apply as part of the third admissions round for the Class of 2013.

With HBS having admitted 90 percent of its class by now, is it too much of a long shot to apply in Round 3? Is it worth the time and expense? According to Leopold, HBS asks itself each year whether there should even be a Round 3, especially since they could easily wrap up the class in two rounds. But, she says, they “always – ALWAYS – see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again.”

So how to know if you are one of the interesting applicants they are holding out for in Round 3? According to Leopold, her team is especially receptive to college senior applicants at this point in the admissions cycle. “The positive outcome for this group is always ‘deferred admission’ – a spot in a future class,” she writes. “Hence, making decisions about these applicants is not driven by seats available in September 2011.”

Just what defines an “interesting” candidate for Round 3 is difficult to pinpoint, Leopold says, adding that it can be work experience, an undergraduate school they wish they had more applicants from, a compelling recommendation or something less tangible.

And so instead Leopold opted to provide some guidance for who shouldn’t apply in Round 3, namely:

• International students who could have trouble obtaining a visa in time for the start of classes. “We’ve seen this happen and it may cause you serious stress and uncertainty about whether you will be able to get here in time for term start-up,” she counsels.
• Applicants who are really hoping for a postponement until September 2012. “Won’t happen,” she cautions.
• Applicants who are counting on living on campus. “You’ll have missed the lottery,” she writes. “On campus housing COULD work out for you, but you may need to find other options.”

She also warned that Round 3 is not appropriate for applicants who want to meet future classmates through an Admit Welcome Weekend. HBS doesn’t host one for Round 3. Also, it’s not worth it to apply in Round 3 as a “trial” application in hopes of receiving feedback that would help your chances next year. Leopold’s team simply can’t provide feedback to students who aren’t admitted.

So there you have it. If Leopold’s advice still leaves you wondering whether or not Round 3 makes sense for you, feel free to contact Clear Admit, where one of our admissions counselors can help evaluate your candidacy.

Posted in: Admissions Tips, MBA News

Schools: Harvard Business School

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