The Tuesday Q&A: Making Mistakes While Waitlisted

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

Oh no! I just got waitlisted. I’ve heard a bunch of advice about what TO do, but what should I absolutely NOT do?

Answer:

Yeah, the waitlist. It’s not a fun place to be. There’s stuff you’ll want to do – and can do – to improve your chances of getting bumped off the list and into the program. But there are also, as always, plenty of ways for you to screw it up. So, let’s dig in.

First and biggest thing you DON’T wanna do? Go against what they tell you to do. Again, they are judging your JUDGMENT. So if they say “Don’t talk to us,” do yourself a favor and don’t talk to them. Don’t go against their rules; follow ’em at all costs. If they say, “Dont send us any more recs,” don’t do it. Follow directions. Wharton in particular is a stickler here. Do as they say, folks.

Second? Don’t reach out once a week, or more often than is polite. You know whole “How soon after a date can I call” thing? It’s kinda like that. It’s just annoying if you’re getting to be a pest. Rule of thumb is to reach out every 2-3 weeks at the most. There’s just not much you can do. And do yourself a favor: every time you reach out, try to come up with something COOL that you’ve done. Some kind of update, other than just, “Hey, how are you? Remember me? Good! So… like, HI!”

Third thing is all about striking a balance with the first two. Don’t forget about them and STOP keeping in touch altogether. Prove to them that you ARE interested. Play by the rules, but play the game. Keep ’em updated – new LORs, all that stuff. Keep in touch, and do it by the rules. Again, play the game, and play to win.

Finally, go visit the campus if you can. Why the hell not? If you haven’t gone yet, what better way to say “I love you” than with a personal visit? Now, this doesn’t necessarily fit the “what NOT to do” bill, but maybe it’s part of the one above. “Don’t forget about them.” Show them you love them, of course. Just not overdoing it, overzealously.

–Jon Frank

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