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8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances

While knitting dreams of studying abroad is one of the best decisions you will make given the fruitful outcomes, it is essential to tread onto the right path that will lead you on to your destination – your dream school.

That said, one of the most important aspects of this journey is prepping for your school application which can influence your selection chances by 30%! (a fact that is known to few)

Why is an application so important, you ask? Well, because it is a means to get to know your profile better and at the same time, if drafted effectively can help your profile stand out from the crowd.

On the other hand, an application if drafted poorly can lead to an instant reject even if you have a stellar GMAT score, great grades, and an otherwise impressive work experience.

Check out the breakdown of how the admission committee views each profile.

8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances intro


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What are the key elements of a ‘Good Application’?

1. Resume

8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances resume

A resume or a CV is a one-page document that describes the crux of your profile in a short and crisp manner. Inclusive of details like achievements, skills, and responsibilities undertaken in the past, a resume helps portray your capabilities and talents at a single glance.

2. Essays

8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances essays

Generally different schools put through different essay questions for varied programs. However, the motive of each school remains the same – a quest to know you better. Thus, Essays help portray the best version of you and provide insights into your past experiences and future goals which are important elements of decision making. You may consider this to be an in-depth extension of your resume.

3. Letters of Recommendation

8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances letters of recommendation

A letter of recommendation (LOR) is a document that influences your application from a third-person perspective. It is an endorsement of your strengths from the point of view of an individual at a higher authority who has witnessed your work in the past.

    4. Interviews

    8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances interview

    An interview is a dialogue between the adcom/alumni and the applicant. Answers to a judicious mix of profile, competency, and goal-based questions are sought in order to get to know the applicant better and ensure that he/she is a perfect fit for the school with coinciding principles and values. Interviews are generally the last step in the application process. 


    The 8 Cardinal Application Mistakes

    I Research phase

    8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances planning phase

    1. Not creating a strong portfolio of schools 

    The most common mistake every applicant tends to make, is shortlisting schools blindly without considering his/her individual profile. There are two scenarios here, one, wherein schools are shortlisted solely based on ranking and the other, where schools are shortlisted undermining a particular profile – schools way below one’s caliber. Both these cases will end up giving a negative outcome because target schools are not the right fit. In order to avoid such blunder, the very first step to analyze one’s profile strengths and weaknesses via an in-depth profile evaluation. A profile evaluation will provide insights into where you stand amidst your competition and allow you to shortlist schools that are tailor-made to fit your profile requirements.

    2. Not being aware of eligibility conditions

    Each school has its own set of requirements and expectations from its students and meeting these requirements is a prerequisite to receiving an admit in the first place. Common mistakes that enthusiastic applicants make are:

    • Not meeting the strict GPA/GMAT requirements, yet applying to top schools
    • Applying to schools with the wrong qualifications

    This eventually results in instant rejection. So, conduct proper research on each school you hope to target. This will ensure that you are on the right track.

    II Preparation phase

    8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances preparation phase

    3. Not making a timeline

    Planning is the most important phase of any endeavor to be undertaken, and when it comes to your B-school application, planning is undoubtedly key to success. While applying to a school, there are different requirements to meet, for instance applying for a GMAT score/IELTS score, acquiring effective letters of recommendation, or allowing yourself ample time to perfect your application essays. Each of the above-mentioned tasks requires dedicated efforts and creating a timeline would ensure a systematic and dedicated approach while tackling each. Students often tend to consider the process to be a cakewalk and put off acting on their to-do list up until the last minute, which results in a subpar application. Thus, drafting a proper timeline for the tasks you ought to do, is as important as ticking tasks off your list.

    4. Not applying to early rounds

    With the magnitude of competition out there, the earlier you apply to your target the school, the higher your chances of acceptance. Also, applying in later rounds would simply imply stricter sieving of applicants as the number of vacant seats would’ve as it is declined. However, applicants tend to miss out on important dates either because they failed at researching the school thoroughly or because of improper planning. To avoid these mistakes you must start planning well in advance and conduct your research diligently. 

    III Execution phase

    8 Application mistakes that are killing your admission chances execution phase

    5. Generic Flowery Statements

    When it comes to drafting your application, the biggest mistake an applicant could create is focusing on generic stuff instead of personalizing the application. Using fancy language, copying statements from elsewhere, and skipping the illustration of examples are mistakes that can cause you an admit as it would fail to portray your profile in depth. As mentioned earlier, an application helps know you better, thus it should be the most you, you could be, and focus should be on keeping personalization at the heart of your application.

    6. Not focusing on what differentiates you

    While it is important to be yourself, you must showcase the best side of your profile. Most applicants succeed at personalizing their application and also make use of fancy language in the application but fail to portray what makes them special from 1000’s of other applicants. Differentiating your profile from the crowd is very important as it will act as an incentive to be shortlisted. In order to do so, you must dive deep into the strengths you possess and brainstorm on past experiences – what drove you to take up endeavors in the past and what you gained out of each experience. Thus you need to make sure that you highlight the unique knowledge and skills honed over the past period to make your application stand out.

    7. Recycling content for every application

    Using the same structure of answers drafted for a particular school to answer application questions of another school is a huge mistake that applicants make. Why is this a mistake? Because not every school may value the same principles as the other. Your essays should in the first place be drafted according to the school requirements and expectations, so instances quoted would also differ as per the target school expectations. Thus, if you wish to create an impactful essay and impress the adcom, you must conduct research to get an idea of what the school expects an ideal student to be like and dive it to touch upon each quality in your essay. 

    8. Taking Resume and LORs lightly

    Applicants mistake the Resume and LOR’s to be documents of least importance and often cut down their chances of acceptance tremendously. As mentioned earlier, a resume helps provide insights into your profile at a single glance which is why it is most often the first document to be screened. If satisfactory, your profile will be shortlisted for further inspection. Thus, Resumes should be short, crisp, and must always meet the layout requirements of the school. When it comes to letters of recommendation, this document significantly helps influence the adcoms decision as it is more like a suggestion from an individual in authority to an individual in authority. Thus facts stated in the LOR would be considered of great importance to the admissions committee. However, it is very important to choose the right recommender. The higher the authority, the better.

    All things considered, drafting an application is a task you ought to handle with diligence and proper planning. Keep in mind these 8 mistakes to avoid and you will reach your destination sooner or later. One last suggestion is to allow yourself a good 20-day period to prepare a thought after, winning application. Good luck!







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