The Tuesday Q&A: Should I Try For a Better Program?

QUESTION:

I was admitted to SMU Cox with a large scholarship for Fall 2012. Looking at my stats, I knew I could apply to other top ranked schools and I really wanted to apply to HBS, Wharton, NYU Stern, INSEAD, and a few other schools. But due to hectic project schedules I could not apply to any of these.

I am now in a dilemma as to what should I do? Should I accept the admission with scholarship without even trying to for my dream schools? 3rd round would be very competitive and so I do not want to apply.

The issue also is that if I wait I will have 7 years of work experience at matriculation, and I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing for my chances.

I therefore want your advice on whether I should wait another year to matriculate and try my chances at the top schools, or should I accept the offer?

ANSWER:

Hmm, tough situation.

Well first of all, lemme say that I’m not a life coach, just an admissions one. But I have seen lots of people in your situation, and I maybe can offer you some thoughts that will help you come to your own conclusion.

First, take all possibilities to their end, and think about them. Meaning, what will happen if you DO accept the admission: Will you regret forever not having applied to those other schools? Will you be happier because you started out a year earlier? Will it be better for your family?

And what about if you DON’T accept? What might happen if you don’t get accepted anywhere next year? What if you DO get accepted to Wharton?

Look, I don’t know your entire profile, so it’s hard to say… but with a solid GMAT score (above a 700) and good work experience you can get into a higher ranked school. Is it the better choice? Will you get an offer for a scholarship from somewhere else? Obviously, there are no guarantees.

But ultimately you have to go with your heart. If you really are excited to go to Cox, and you feel it can help you reach your goals, no need to get “greedy”. If, on the other hand, you feel like you will keep this regret in your heart your entire life, maybe you need to reapply.

All I can say is that if you aren’t sure, you gotta ask around. Speak to people who have attended Cox, and visit if possible. Do whatever you can to know as much as possible in relation to what you specifically want. And then it’s up to you to decide if it fulfills your needs.

I hope that helps.

— Jon Frank

 

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