I’m on the waitlist…how normal is this?


These are not normal times. Several schools are still actively working to fill their Fall 2020 classes, long after they are usually full. They are managing extended deadlines and changing application requirements, all while continuing to invest in outreach for future application classes.


Many schools are not yet certain when they will re-open their physical doors, have an evolving understanding of how their faculty and students will be impacted by the virus itself, or know how many applicants will choose to begin their programs this Fall. Consequently, many MBA programs are keeping as many of their options open as possible. So, if you’re still on the waitlist, or have recently been added to a waitlist, it is completely normal. More than in prior years, there may be a spot in the Class of 2022 for you.


With several schools extending Round 3 deadlines and adding additional application cycles, waitlists will likely continue to grow through May. This will become more complicated as schools start to execute their deferral strategies and spots open up at several schools.


The evolving waitlist should not stop you from communicating with your admissions contacts, continuing to grow professionally and personally, and updating schools on your changing circumstances. Your growth at work may be different than in a “normal” environment, however, there is growth nonetheless. Focus on what you’re learning. Have you coached a client or mentee through a thorny issue? Taught your team a new software app that boosted their productivity? Learned to host virtual get-togethers to boost team morale? As many remain numb from the size and speed of changes in today’s economy, showing forward progress in anything can be a positive differentiator for your application.


Given the sheer scale of uncertainty, we expect schools to continue waitlists long into the summer. Some candidates may even get a phone call a few days after programs start in September. That’s because there is a chance some students don’t show up, opening new spots after the first tuition payment deadline. It is likely that patience will be rewarded. Top schools have deep applicant pools, and in normal years can fill their classes many times over with qualified candidates. The challenge this year is simply knowing who will actually register. However, the students who register will likely be more resourceful, more eager to achieve their goals, and more creative in how they use their MBAs to change the world. They will be exactly the people you want as classmates!


If wanting to talk through more, let us know.



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