5 Things You Need to Check Before Submitting That App

After weeks and weeks of research, writing, editing and re-writing, your MBA applications are DONE. Your resume is perfect, your essays are compelling, and your recommenders are ready to ship off those LORS.

You’re finished! Hooray! Time to sign, seal and deliver that application… then go to sleep for 24 hours.

But wait.

Before you do your little “I’m DONE!” dance, let’s give that app one final review. After all, you’ve been staring at that thing for days on end; it’s totally natural to miss a mistake here and there. And it would be a shame to spend all that time perfecting those applications, only to be flagged by the adcom for minor mistakes or careless errors.

So before you click “submit,” do yourself a favor and do these 5 things:

1) Check for Spelling Errors.

Nothing says “I’m the best candidate for your program” less than careless errors and spelling mistakes. Especially on a resume. Spell-check is NOT perfect. Do not rely on it and do NOT make mistakes in your applications. Prove that for whatever weaknesses you have, “attention to detail” isn’t one of ‘em.  There is NO excuse for making careless mistakes in an application. None.

2) Look for Names of Other Schools.

This is the worst and most careless mistake you can make in your applications.  And we have seen it before. Too many times. Homeboy was submitting a Wharton app, and it says “Duke” aaaall over the thing.  Spell-check won’t catch this, so it’s up to you. Do yourself a favor, do a ‘find-search-replace’ for ALL the names of the schools you’ve applied to.  If you screw this up, you are, well, screwed.

3) Make Sure Your Recommenders are on the Ball.

Have they submitted anything?  CHECK ON THEM.  Have they begun the process?  Remember, managing them is a test of YOU.  If you can’t get THEM to submit their stuff, it WILL reflect badly on you.  So don’t drop the ball there, folks.  Keep in touch with them, and MANAGE them.  Frankly, you have no choice.

4) Update Anything that has Changed.

Often times, people don’t realize that since they began their applications in the summer, things have changed.  For the BETTER!  Is there anything that has changed since you started your app?  Even just a sentence or two can go a looong way. Are you gonna get promoted?  Did you get the best bonus of anyone in your class? THINK ABOUT IT.  Maybe, just maybe, there is something NEW worth adding.

5) If you have time, and if you haven’t shown your app to someone who knows what they’re doing.

No, it ISN’T too late. And nobody is saying that you need to spend money on a consultant. What we ARE saying is that all too often, people miss obvious mistakes.  If you have been working with someone – even if only a friend, relative, etc.- you are likely fine here. But if you have NEVER shown your work to ANYONE outside yourself, you. must. do it. Immediately. Getting a fresh set of eyes on your work will help ensure that there are no glaring, obvious, or careless mistakes. You know, things you can (and probably did!) miss after looking at the same essays for days on end.

Coming from a “big picture guy,” I know what it’s like to miss the little things sometimes. And coming from someone who reviews applications every day, I know the (negative) effect those little things can have. So take some time, do one final review with a fine-tooth comb, and you’ll be good to go on those apps.

And when that’s all set – you’ve clicked submit and done your little happy dance – sit down and start preparing for those MBA Interviews.

The Tuesday Q&A: Low GPA, Low GMAT… Do I Have A Chance?