Kaplan Survey Finds Majority of B-Schools Now Accepting GRE

A recent Kaplan Test Prep survey finds that a majority of top business schools now accept the GRE as an admissions alternative to the GMAT. The survey was conducted by phone in July and August 2011 and includes responses from 265 of the nation’s top MBA programs, including 16 of the top 25 ”“ as designated by U.S. News & World Report.

For the first time since Kaplan Test Prep began tracking the issue in 2009, a majority (52%) of top business schools say that applicants now have the option to submit a score from the GRE instead of the GMAT.  Additionally, 34% of business schools that are still GMAT-only say they are likely to accept the GRE for the 2012 or 2013 admissions cycle.

“What’s interesting about this trend is that GMAT test takers typically have a few years of work experience under their belts, while it’s more common for undergrads to take the GRE, so in accepting the GRE, business schools are registering to college students that they can start thinking about an MBA education earlier in the process,” says Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“In fact, some business schools specifically reach out to undergrads at their affiliated colleges with programs to make it simpler for them to apply and enroll. This widening of the ”˜boardroom door’ into business school creates options for undergrads who know that they want to pursue a higher degree, but are undecided as to whether it will be a master’s or an MBA,” Mitchell adds.

Other results from Kaplan Test Prep’s 2011 survey of business school admissions officers:

  • Facebook and Google are Fair Game: 27% of admissions officers said they have Googled an applicant to learn more about them; 22% said they have visited an applicant’s Facebook or other social networking page for the same purpose.
  • Your Digital Trail Can Lead to Rejection: 14% of admissions officer who did online research said they have discovered something about a prospective student that negatively impacted their business school application.
  • Business School Admissions Urban Legend, Busted: Contrary to the belief held by many aspiring MBAs still in college, business schools report that an applicant’s lack of work experience is not the biggest application killer ”“ it’s actually a low admissions exam score (58%), followed by a low undergraduate GPA (24%) and then lack of relevant work experience at 12%.
  • Financial Aid Still Available: 36% of business schools said that compared to the previous admissions cycle, the amount of financial aid they were able to provide students increased; 47% reported the amount stayed the same; only 17% said the amount decreased.

Mitchell predicts that the recent changes to the GRE, which have made it more challenging, are likely to convince even more MBA programs to consider accepting it in the future.  Meanwhile, the GMAT will soon experience its own significant changes by implementing the Integrated Reasoning section, introducing complex new question types designed to test the critical thinking and analytics demanded of students in business school.

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