The Tuesday Q&A: Apply For R3 If You Get Dinged in R2?

MBA FAQ, MBA frequently asked questions, bschool questions, mba questionsQuestion:

So, I just found out that I got dinged in my R2 applications, and I wasn’t planning on applying to any schools R3. Is it worth applying R3 to any of the programs?


Sure it is, buddy. You’ve got nowhere else to go right now, right? So, why not have a go at getting in elsewhere? Now, to be honest,┬áit’s unlikely that you get in, but so long as you’re not applying to the same places where you got dinged earlier (reapplying one round later = FAIL), then why the hell not?

So, here’s your strategy. Pick one or two schools, and be smart about it. It’s a Hail Mary, but at this point… you don’t have much to lose. Your materials are all done, and your essays are, too. Now chances are, your essays aren’t good enough, if they didn’t work in R2. But pick one or two schools and drop in some apps? Again, why the hell not?

That said, let’s lay a few ground rules so you can maximize your effectiveness in this long-shot venture:

1) Don’t apply to three – five schools in Round 3, because it’ll make it harder once you get dinged to reapply next year. Reapplications are HARD, man.

2) Do a TON of research, and as a R3 applicant, the first thing you’ll have to answer to is “Why did you apply so late?” This may require, erm… stretching the truth. Don’t tell gigantic lies here, but saying, “I didn’t get in anywhere else I applied in the last two rounds, so you’re my last-ditch effort” isn’t the message you wanna send. Got me?

3) Be realistic about what school you’re applying to. If you didn’t get into a great school in Rounds 1 and 2, it won’t happen in Round 3. Why would it?! So, aim LOWER to guarantee that you get in. Also, if you’re international, be realistic about your visa. If you can’t get one in time, then don’t waste your energy with this app.

So, keep it real, set the bar a little lower than Round 2, and good luck.

–Jon Frank

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