November is a busy month here in the Yale SOM Admissions Office. We are currently reading and interviewing our Round 1 applicants (in fact, as I write this post, most of the team is in cities around the globe conducting admissions interviews). Yet, even as we are busily preparing for our Round 1 decision release in early December, we have also turned our sights to preparing for our Round 2 application deadline on January 7, 2019.
As I speak to students on campus and at off-site events, there tends to be a common theme among the questions asked, typically surrounding how students can best tell their story in our application. So with the Round 2 deadline around the corner, I thought that it would be timely to answer some of these frequently asked questions. While I can only speak to a few of them here, I encourage you to tune in to our Application Tips Panel on December 6 at noon ET for more insights from members of our Admissions Committee.
Perhaps the question we receive most is “What is the Admissions Committee looking for in an applicant?” This is a difficult question to answer, because what makes someone stand out can be vastly different from candidate to candidate. The key is therefore to remain your true self throughout the process, because what the Admissions Committee is looking to learn about in your application is...you! You should focus less on what you think we want to hear and more on what you want to tell us as you prepare your application.
We’re interested in understanding the impact you have had in your personal and professional life, how you hope to lead, and your ability to collaborate. We are also interested in finding students who will be engaged community members both here at Yale and in their future organizations.
In addition, we want to ensure that the students we admit are academically prepared for our rigorous program. This leads me to another question I hear often: “If my GPA or test score is lower than the median, is that an automatic disqualifier?” The answer is simple: No. While our median undergraduate GPA for the class of 2020 was 3.71, the full range was 2.99 to 4.0. Similarly, our median GMAT score was 730, but the range was actually 540 to 780. I tell you this to say that we take a very broad approach to reviewing applications; a single data point such as a GPA or test score will not be dispositive to an application.
Many of you preparing for Round 2 have probably begun at least brainstorming your essay. Our essay question is simultaneously prescriptive, yet open-ended. We ask you to describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. With no direction beyond that, another question we often receive is “What does the Admissions Committee want to see in the essay?”
In your response, we are looking to read about a single commitment, how you approached that commitment, and the behaviors that supported it. This guidance hopefully gives you the freedom to select a commitment that truly fits who you are. Whether that commitment is personal or professional, you should be less concerned about what we want to hear and instead focus on being honest with yourself in selecting and describing the commitment that has been most significant to you.
Finally, in writing your essay, don’t worry about recounting your résumé, or speaking to your goals and why you believe Yale SOM will help you in pursuing these goals. There will be opportunities to convey that information during other parts of the application process.
I hope this advice is helpful as you think about your Round 2 Yale SOM application. For more insights on how to approach our application, tune in to our Application Tips Panel, and for advice from our current students, register for our upcoming Online Student Panel: Inside the Yale SOM Experience. Best of luck with the application process!
Assistant Dean for Admissions
Yale School of Management
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New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center