Applying for an Accommodation while Juggling B-School Admission Deadlines

Nov 11, 2009
Tags: Admissions, Financial Aid, Official GMAT

Okay. We’ve all been there. Deadlines and due dates are sources of stress for almost everyone and this stress is only made worse when there’s an application deadline in play. You’re busy enough researching schools and studying for the test. Navigating the test accommodations process can seem an impossible and time-consuming task.

However, take a deep breath. The Graduate Management Admission Council wants to see you get through the test accommodations application process with as little stress as possible. When GMAT candidates feel pinched to meet admissions deadlines, we feel pinched, too. Seeing you meet your admissions deadlines is a mutually desired goal.

Our review of your request for test accommodations can take as few as two business days and as many as 20. You have control over which end of the spectrum you fall on. The following strategy can help you get a quick decision response on your accommodation application.

Start Early

  1. Consider applying for test accommodations while still enrolled in your undergraduate degree program. Eligibility for test accommodations is based on a "current impact" of your disability on test taking and documentation of your disabling condition is required for your test accommodations application. If you are receiving accommodations in your undergraduate program, chances are the documentation you provided to your college will be recent enough to meet our documentation requirements. If you send us outdated documentation, we will need to request additional information, which may ultimately result in a delayed decision response.
  2. No one understands the impact of your disability on test taking better than those that have worked with you through your secondary and post-secondary educational years. Those educators can provide detailed letters on your behalf that support your need for test accommodations. Keep in mind that vague support statements may result in a request for additional documentation, which may ultimately result in a delayed decision response. Start building a paper trail now that can help support your request.

Consider whether you will need updated medical records to verify the current impact of your condition on test taking. Scheduling an appointment for updated assessments may put you at the mercy of your medical provider’s schedule, which may be at odds with your application deadline. Additionally, your medical provider, trying to be responsive to your scheduling needs, may not provide enough information to illuminate how your condition currently impacts your ability to take the GMAT under standardized conditions. This too, will result in a request for additional information, which may result in a delayed response.

Give Yourself Some Time

Remember, just as in any application process, the volume of applications received can affect the time it takes to receive a decision response. July and October are our peak volume months for GMAT accommodations applications. If your admissions application deadlines fall during these high-volume months, it is to your advantage to gather and submit all the information for your accommodation application well before the rush.

Know Yourself

Make sure there is a clear connection between your reported condition and the accommodation(s) you are requesting. Again, the details in your application for accommodations are important—be honest with yourself about what you truly need as an accommodation and why. Verifying eligibility for test accommodations is often the easy part, but making a rational connection between the accommodation(s) the candidate is seeking and the disability being reported all too often results in a request for additional documentation…which, again, may delay a decision response.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

The number one factor in receiving a quick response and decision and ultimately meeting your application deadlines is taking the time to put together a solid application that clearly reflects why your condition currently affects your ability to take the GMAT under standardized conditions, and how the accommodations requested serve to mitigate that condition. If you take care not to place yourself in the position of having to send in additional support for your request, you may put yourself on the quick end of navigating the accommodation process.

—Kendra Johnson, Ed. D

    Director, GMAT Test Accommodations