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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

December 06, 2007

Myths of the Application Process: The Admissions Office

This is the first post in a series on myths of the application process.

I am tired. More specifically, I tired of hearing the same myths regarding the application process year after year. These myths misinform applicants, fill them with fear, contribute to some applicants not applying, and to others not trying to get into their dream school.

The myths surrounding the MBA application process are particularly pernicious, so in the series that I will be posting I will be referencing the MBA process for the most part.

Actually, since I started in 2001, I think it has all gotten worse in a way because the amount of noise out there only increases as more online venues exist for rumors and misinformation to circulate. In this post, I will address one of the most persistent rumors about the MBA application process, but first I would like to emphasize one thing:

Of course, if the answer can be found on their website, don't waste the admissions officers' time asking unnecessary questions. That said, any decent school will answer your questions about their internal processes. There is nothing mystical about these processes. Which leads to...
Myth Number One: The Admissions Office Has Secret Practices
Any accredited school's admissions office will be following a set of standardized practices for the handling of applications. These processes, like that of any bureaucratic organization, have to be sufficiently transparent to meet legal and regulatory requirements. While potentially subject to outside influence from professors, development offices, powerful alums, and other key stakeholders, admissions committees often pride themselves on being fair. They are not perfect because they are composed of individuals, but they are not secret cabals either. Like any organization, they will make exceptions to their general practices from to time to time, but only at the margins. Hence the websites, brochures, and other information they provide about their admissions processes is really quite accurate. Therefore if you want to know whether they will consider a GMAT submitted a week after the application was sent or any other such question, simply ask. Try finding the answer on the website first, but if that does not work, contact them. Part of their job is to answer your questions.

While schools vary greatly in their degree of openness and level of customer service, most will answer questions. And unless an inquirer is simply asking questions that can be easily answered through reviewing the admissions materials, it is safe to assume one will receive a response. If you don't receive a response by email, try calling. If you are treated rudely ask yourself whether you want to go to the school. I especially would be concerned about an MBA program that lacked the customer service skills to appropriately field the inquiries of potential students (customers).

While I have been very critical of less than transparent processes used by most Law Schools regarding Master of Law (LL.M.) admissions, especially when it comes to MBA and JD programs, admissions offices are very transparent. In fact those applying to other kinds of graduate programs (with the exception of healthcare degrees) are at a relative disadvantage compared to MBA and JD applicants in terms of the availability of good data upon which to make application decisions.

Finally, given that admissions offices may have very limited December and January schedules, I would try to get in all your questions either before or after the Winter holiday season.

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス
MBA留学, LLM留学, 大学院留学
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