How to Decide Where to Apply

The first step in the application process is deciding where to apply.

Because applications require a great deal of time and money, it is best to start by narrowing your choices to a handful of schools.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Match your career-related goals, academic study, and personal needs to a targeted list of schools that meet your most basic requirements.
  2. Narrow your list to five to seven schools that have the curricular strength, culture, and program philosophy that meet your educational and professional needs.
  3. Compare yourself to the typical applicant pool by looking at grade point average, GMAT scores, education, work experience, and accomplishments. This will help you understand your chances of getting in to each school.
  4. Include one dream school where you’d really like to go, even if your credentials don’t meet or exceed those of the typical applicant. If you don’t apply, you will miss out on the chance of being admitted.
  5. Pick at least one school that you are more than qualified to attend.
  6. Don’t apply to a school you wouldn’t want to attend.

Keep in mind that application fees can add up quickly. They could include:

  • Transcript request fees
  • Postage or express delivery services
  • Overseas phone calls, if applicable
  • Travel expenses for recruiting events, interviews, or campus visits
  • Testing fees and test preparation materials
  • Application fees (ranging from US$40 to US$250)

A Note about Historical Data

When comparing yourself with the "average" applicant, it is important to remember that the term does not describe any one specific person, but rather a broad spectrum of people.

Also remember that if a school accepts 33 percent of its applicants, it doesn’t mean you have a one-in-three chance of getting in. Your application may be so strong that your chances are considerably higher. Or, it may be so weak that you are unlikely to be admitted.

If you are stronger than average in some areas, emphasize those skills in your application to compensate for weaker areas.