What to Expect in ROUND 1 vs ROUND 2

Are you too late to apply to Round 1, or are you unsure whether Round 1 or Round 2 timing is best for you? How will your application be perceived differently in Round 1 vice Round 2? There are several key differences between applying in Round 1 and Round 2. Let’s discuss the differences and see if we can help you decide which round might be best for you.

The key difference in round 1 and round 2 is that there are more seats available in Round 1. In Round 2 some of the seats have already been given away to the earlier applicants. For this reason alone, your chances of admission in Round 1 should be higher!

Round 2 is generally more competitive.

Many of the top business schools receive a large chunk of their applications in Round 2. As many applicants wait until after the holiday break to submit their applications. In addition to this, the admissions committee selects its new class in Round 1. It also begins to form its vision of what the class will look like. If your profile doesn’t fit with what the admissions committee has already begun to envision, your odds of admission could again be shortened.

Much of the same logic holds true for re-applicants. For re-applicants, if you applied last year in Round 2 and were rejected, you may find that you have a better outcome if you apply in Round 1 (in addition to presenting a strengthened application). Again, the simple fact is that there are more seats available in Round 1, and so your odds of admission are strengthened.

But, this does not mean that applying in earlier rounds is always the best course of action. In some cases, it may serve applicants better to strategically apply in a later round.

If you have limited examples of leadership or strong work performance then in a few more months one might be able to contribute specific examples to their application. If there is a perceived “weakness” in your application that could be strengthened with a few extra months’ time. For example, if you scored 600s on the GMAT and feel you can score a solid 700 or higher then a few extra months to take a prep course and re-take the exam would be worth the wait. In this case, a Round 2 application would likely serve the applicant well. One reason could also be that you are so busy with work that you will not have time to put together an excellent application until the Round 2 deadlines. That’s OK! Just remember, when it comes to your application, quality should always take precedence. Your application should be outstanding regardless of timing.

These are just general examples that we see often at MBA Admit. A specific answer to whether applying in Round 1 or Round 2 is best for you will depend upon the specifics of your candidacy. If you are a very strong candidate, you likely won’t be affected by the timing. Sometimes candidates have such strong profiles and are so well-qualified that they have no problem gaining admission regardless of their timing. For others, especially those who come from a highly competitive profile the timing of your application may make the difference. For instance, if you are a male Indian engineer who will be applying as a foreign national applicant. Please note that this is not true for all schools, but only for a few specific programs.

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