Is it Time to Hedge Your Round 1 Bets?
If you applied to schools in Round 1 and are still waiting for final decisions to be released over the next few weeks, you have an important decision to make.
Do you want to:
- Start working diligently on Round 2 applications in the event that things don’t pan out how you’d like;
- Wait to see what happens and then crank out a few more applications at the last minute if need be; or
- Make peace with the fact that you won’t be going back to school if your Round 1 news isn’t positive?
What you ultimately end up doing will be determined by how you answer this question: “Am I feeling lucky?”
You know you did your best with your application materials, and if you received interview invitations from programs that don’t have a policy of meeting with all applicants, then you also know your chances of acceptance went up significantly.
However, even if you were invited to interview at a very selective school, the odds are still only about 50-50 that you’ll be admitted, even if your AdCom or alumni chat went extremely well. Your interview is but one piece of a larger picture the AdCom is considering.
Although it is hard to accept this fact, the reality is that luck plays a not-so-insignificant role in the admissions process. When thousands of highly qualified people are vying for a couple hundred spots at each school, that means that the majority of deserving applicants are not going to receive good news. Those who are admitted not only have excellent credentials, but also had luck on their side the day final decisions were made.
So our advice for Round 1 applicants is to start putting significant effort into at least a few schools for Round 2—just in case. If you end up getting into your dream school, you’ll be so elated that you won’t mind having exerted effort on a Plan B. And if you are not accepted anywhere in Round 1, then you’ll have bought yourself more time to pull together outstanding applications by early January.
Here’s another way to look at it:
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