Is This Your Year to Apply?

It’s early enough in the year that potential MBA applicants are still trying to decide if this is their year to take the plunge and apply. One question that I frequently hear is, “If I am admitted and decide not to go, can I just defer?”

Every school has their own policy on deferrals. If a potential deferral is part of your plan, your first step should be to find out how your target schools feel about it.

UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business stands out with their “no questions asked one year deferral policy”. The applicant must email a letter stating the intent and then pay the deposit. When the application is posted the following year the applicant fills it out and pays the application fee to be automatically be admitted.

Most other schools are not nearly so flexible. I recently had a client who was deciding between two top business schools. When a member of her immediate family was diagnnosed with a terminal illness, she asked for a one year deferral. One of the schools agreed, the other denied her request.

Another top school required a down payment of $10,000 to an admitted student who wanted to defer for one year and secure his place.

While there is usually a possibility of deferral, in most cases it is by no means a sure thing. Anything can happen, but I would never recommend applying if you think you may not want to attend this year.

In truth, deciding definitively whether this is the year for you should be part of your soul searching process. As you define your goals, your next steps, why now is the right time, why an MBA is important, the answer to “should I apply this year?” should naturally come out. These are the questions that, as IdayS states, “we all need to get absolutely right.”

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