SBC Scoop: 640 on the GMAT

I begin this week’s Scoop by filling you in on the outcome from last week’s post about Joe who had a “D” on his transcript.  Joe was admitted to Wharton and withdrew applications from other schools because he knew that was where he wanted to attend. Joe was quite satisfied that his approach to the transcript was effective and so were we!

Our client this week, Davis, is a white male working in finance in New York City.  He clearly had strong quantitative abilities, as revealed through his GPA and professional experiences.  However, his GMAT score of 640 was below average for Columbia, the one school that he was targeting.  Davis had missed Columbia’s early decision round and was submitting his application at the last minute in the general rolling admissions round.

He put together a solid application and submitted knowing that his timing and GMAT were two significant weaknesses for this particular school.  The good news was that both of these issues were fixable.  He could obviously reapply early decision the following year, and he could retake the GMAT (although 640 was his high score out of three attempts).

Ultimately, Davis was not admitted in this first attempt.  However, he managed to secure a phone conversation with a contact on the admissions committee.  The feedback was clear and specific – they wanted to see him clear 680 on the GMAT in order to be a stronger candidate.  He was encouraged to apply again.

The next several months were extremely stressful as Davis worked hard to improve his GMAT and only succeeded in raising the score by 30 points.  With a 670, he reapplied to Columbia in the early decision round.  He focused on conveying his academic and quantitative strengths, and encouraged his recommenders to weigh in on his quantitative skills to strengthen his case.  He also stayed in touch with his admissions committee contact, contacting him with occasional questions, and keeping him up to date on GMAT progress.  Via this contact, he reinforced his commitment to attend if admitted, making it clear that Columbia was the only school he had applied to.

I am happy to report that Davis was eventually admitted to Columbia!  This showed us that many schools, including Columbia do take the GMAT very seriously and target specific scores, but even a lower score can be overcome in the presence of other strengths.  Also, it never hurts to ask for feedback.  Even schools that do not “officially” provide feedback, just might do so.  My motto with many aspects of this process is…”it never hurts to ask.”

Are you surprised that Columbia gave Davis a specific target score?  Surprised that he was admitted even without hitting the 680?  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

To read more SBC Case Studies, click HERE.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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