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From the Assistant Dean for Admissions: Inside the Admissions Committee

Understanding what goes on behind the scenes may change the way you think about your Yale SOM application.

We are well into our second application round—midway between our January 4 application deadline and our March 27 decision-notification date—so it seems like a good time to talk a bit about what the admission process looks like from inside the committee room. Of course for privacy reasons we don’t share details of our deliberations, but there are some important aspects of the process that may affect how you think about your Yale SOM application.

Starting the week after our January deadline, we meet at least once a week to discuss applicants and make decisions—first about whether to interview the candidates, and then later in the round about whether to admit them. The committee views every applicant at least once, and many come before us twice: once for an interview decision, and once for an admissions decision. There are 13 of us on the committee, and we all contribute our different perspectives to the committee discussion (collectively, we have experience in finance, consulting, law, marketing, education, government, and a host of other areas). At the interview stage, we are guided by the overall opinion of the committee, but it does not need to be unanimous; at the admission stage, we all need to agree on the decision.

At the current stage of the process, we’ve spent most of our time on interview decisions, and we’ll continue to do so throughout the round. Most of our interview invitations have been extended by now, but there are still likely some more to come. (Important to keep in mind: applicants who don’t receive an invitation to interview at this stage shouldn’t assume that they will be denied. It’s not uncommon for us to place someone on the waitlist without an interview and then interview, and even admit, them later on.) We’ll start to turn more heavily in the coming weeks to admission decisions, taking a holistic view of applicants to determine who has the right combination of academic prowess and professional potential to join our community. We try to balance these factors, which is one reason why there is no set weight to any aspect of an application—the same piece of data can have different meaning to us based on its context in the overall application.

As we make admission decisions, we also look at applicants we waitlisted in the previous round and compare them to the applicants in the current round. In fact, we spend a lot of time calibrating our decisions and viewing applicants multiple times in committee. We do this in an effort to overcome the biases inherent in the process—by viewing candidates in different contexts, we minimize the influence of the specific circumstances in which they come before us (e.g., time of day, who we discussed just before them, etc.) and focus instead on the substance of their applications. We will spend much of next month with this process, all leading up to our March 27 decision-release date. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s an important process and one we take very seriously.

Bruce DelMonico
Assistant Dean for Admissions
Admissions Office
Yale School of Management
165 Whitney Avenue
Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center
fax 203.432.7004