5 Tips (and a few secrets) from the Director of Admissions
Curious about whether to take the GRE or the GMAT?
Wondering which quarter gives you a better chance of admission? Our Director of Admissions, Kara Northcutt, has answers to these questions and more.
- By January 13, 2017
- Part-Time MBA - Admissions
1. Get the GMAT or GRE out of the way first.
This is the toughest part of the application process. Since your test scores are valid for 5 years, I suggest focusing on the exam first, then the rest of the application. It is common to take the exam more than once, and we always consider your highest score. We appreciate applicants retaking the exam when they feel they can improve. This shows the Admissions Committee your dedication. The average GMAT score is 680, mid 80% range is 610-730. We look for GRE scores that convert within the same range.
Secret #1: We really have no preference between GRE or GMAT. My tip is to take the exam you feel you’ll do best on.
2. Apply to the quarter that works best for your personal and professional timeline.
When applying to the Evening MBA Program, you can apply to autumn, winter, spring or summer quarter. For the Weekend MBA Program, you can apply to autumn or spring quarter.
Secret #2: Your chances of admission are the same regardless of the quarter you apply.
Secret #3: Most applications are submitted the week of the deadline. If you are deadline driven (or a skilled procrastinator like myself), no need to worry. Your chances of admission are the same whether you are the first or last application to be submitted.
3. Get to know Admissions and the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA community.
Stay in touch with your admissions contact. If you are unsure who your contact is, email us and we’ll get you connected. Your admissions contact is happy to answer your questions and connect you with students and alumni. We also suggest attending Information Sessions and visiting a class if your schedule allows. See here for upcoming events. This is a huge decision and investment, and we are here to help!
4. Fill out all sections and answer all questions within the application.
I know, this sounds obvious, but we sometimes see applicants leave sections blank or provide information that doesn’t match their supporting documents – dates of employment on resume don’t match what you put in the application, for example. Make sure your uploaded transcripts show all courses, grades, degrees earned and the dates degrees were conferred for all degrees earned (undergrad and graduate).
Secret #4: When reviewing applications, the Admissions Committee may interpret leaving sections blank as inattention to detail or inauthenticity.
5. We are looking for consistency and authenticity during the interview.
For the traditional Evening and Weekend MBA programs, admissions interviews are by invitation only, and are conducted after submitting a completed application in the online application system. Interview decisions will be released within 10 days of submitting your completed application. If you are invited to interview, you will receive information about scheduling your in-person interview at that time. For the Chicago Business Fellows (CBF) program, you are guaranteed an interview and will attend a CBF interview day. Your student or alumni interviewer will not have read your application, they will have simply reviewed your resume a few minutes before the interview. Be sure the answers you provide in the interview are similar to what you wrote in your application—we look for authenticity and consistency from our candidates.
Secret #5: Most people interview after the deadline (remember secret #3?). This has no negative impact on your chances of admissions. We offer a variety of interview dates and times in the afternoon, evening, or on a Saturday at the Gleacher Center.
I hope these tips and secrets help you navigate the application process! We look forward to getting to know you and helping you throughout the process.