After I’ve sent my application, what should I expect from schools?

Mar 4, 2010
Tags: Admissions Process, Applications, B-School

Marisa CoxWritten by Marisa Cox, Director, MBA Admissions, Eller College of Management, University of Arizona

You’ve labored over the essays, polished your resume, taken the GMAT, rounded up transcripts and letters of recommendation, and now you may be wondering, “What is happening to my application?” 

Most schools use an online application system that allows you to provide background information and upload essays, resumes, and in some cases letters of recommendation and transcripts. These online applications then need to be downloaded on the school side and matched with GMAT and TOEFL scores. The “completing” of your file, which leads to a hard copy or electronic file review by an admissions staff and committee, is what you can expect is happening on the school’s end after you’ve sent in your application. 

The type of contact or communication you can expect from a school after you’ve sent your application depends in part on the size of the program to which you are applying:

  • At a smaller program with a relatively lower volume of applications (500 or fewer), you can often expect a personal response after your application has been received, in some cases confirming which of your materials have been received and which may still be outstanding. After your application is complete, you can expect an email notifying you that you have been selected for an interview and identifying next steps in the admissions process or that your application for admission has been denied.
  • A larger program with a high volume of applications (1,000+) will likely not be able to respond on an individual basis to each of its applicants. After you’ve submitted a complete application, the next communication you receive from the school may be an invitation to interview or a letter notifying you of denial.
If you’re applying to a program that processes applications in rounds, you’ll likely have to wait until after the application round deadline to learn if your application has been selected for interview and further review by the admissions committee. If you’re applying to a program that processes applications on a rolling basis, the admissions staff may tell you that you’ll be contacted within a certain time period—within four weeks, for example—of submitting a complete application with an update on your application. 

My advice: The more you engage the admissions staff early on in the admissions process, the more you will know about what to expect after you’ve sent in your application.