Demonstrating your School Interest

October 14, 2014 | by Matt Symonds

One of our goals at Fortuna is to provide you with valuable insider information, from former MBA Admissions Directors, to help with your business school applications. When we were gatekeepers at our respective business schools, a common mistake we observed applicants make was failing to demonstrate their commitment to the school. Although you might consider some schools “backups” if your GPA, GMAT score, and work experience are all in the competitive range (or even higher) than a school’s average, a failure to genuinely demonstrate motivation for a school can lead to rejection. So what can you do to appropriately convey your school interest and to convince Admissions of your passion for their program?

Schools aim to admit applicants who they feel have a high likelihood of enrolling in their program and yield (the percentage of admitted applicants who actually enroll) is an important factor. In our Fortuna video, Insider Tips for Demonstrating your School Commitment, Dina Glasofer (former Senior Associate Director of Admissions and Marketing at NYU Stern) shares her top tips for convincing your dream school of your genuine interest in the program.

The first essential step is to do your school research thoroughly. It’s not enough to just skim through the programs’ websites. You need to dig deeper and take extra steps like following the schools’ social media outlets/blogs and reading about faculty members in the news. Take time to watch school videos where you can hear from students, administration, and faculty to understand what distinguishes their school from others. The more time you spend on this, the better feel you will get for each program and you’ll even notice subtle nuances between programs.

Another tip is to engage in school outreach. This can include contacting current students and alumni, faculty, and visiting the school in person. This is a great way to get your questions answered and to get a good sense for the schools’ different environments and unique factors.  A campus visit (ideally while classes are in session) can also help you realize which programs will be a good fit.

When applying to business school, be sure to communicate how you see yourself contributing to the school’s learning environment. This can often be conveyed in your essays and interviews and you should take advantage of any other on-campus opportunities to experience the program first-hand. If you are invited to sit in on a class visit, have lunch with a student, or attend a special event, make every effort to attend, as these are ways to demonstrate your enthusiasm for a program. Applicants who decline invitations to participate in program activities or events could be viewed as uninterested and not a serious candidate. It’s easy to avoid this kind of mistake so make sure you show that you have conducted your due diligence!

To hear all of Dina’s tips on conveying your passion for a school, click here to watch the video.

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