Before I continue, we all need to listen to Leroy, the Uninterrupted Lobster, as he provides commentary on life’s true purpose:
“Eat Eat Eat, Molt, Expand, Repeat!”
5. +3 WEEKS POST-DECISION: Figure Out Your Life.
Wow, uh, what? Ohhh, you HEARD me.
At this stage you’ve provided a fresh slab of meat for the AdCom to go gaga over. But this is the beauty of the waitlist: you get to spend more time pondering about the 5 W’s than you did during the application process. If you’re someone who is easily talked out of things, this is a very very difficult time for you. 🙂
It’s a bit nerve-wracking, though, because your options suddenly become, well, optional. Do you retake the GMAT or sign up for the Peace Corps? Do you take a quant class at a local community college…or do you just forget about the whole thing and move on?
My best suggestion: you’ve paid the cash. Unless there’s an offer on the table already, you might as well stay in the game. (Note: At this point I had an admit from Duke but it was for their distance-learning program; I didn’t consider it as an option and actually withdrew my application.)
6. +3 WEEKS POST-DECISION CONTINUED: Re-Assess your Application.
Although you’ve probably been in the process of finding (cough) deficiencies in your application, now’s a good time to revisit them. Again, this is where your network becomes handy. Mine consisted of a Columbia grad, a current McKinsey consultant, and a chat session with the AdCom — pretty robust, yet diverse lineup there. If need be, and if you’ve hired an admissions consultant at this point, then maybe solicit their advice.
Here’s a caveat, though — your self-assessment may be dead-on or completely off, and if you’re dealing with a school that is mum on the type of information they want, you may guess wrong. Is there harm in this? Probably not, but it certainly isn’t helping AdCom acquire more information to determine if you’re a good fit.
My self-assessment was a bit off: I began to reconsider taking the GMAT — but this was also because I planned on taking it before I left for the Peace Corps; I didn’t find it a good use of my time to study like crazy for two months just to boost my score a few points. I took a gamble and made the following assessment on my application: I was a newcomer to Seattle and the amount I could accomplish in such short time was not well-documented. So, I centered my updates (including #1!) around what I had been doing in Seattle. Apparently, the gamble paid off.
#7. +4-5 WEEKS POST-DECISION: Update #2 — Communications
THIS is where your school contacts come into play: I essentially wrote a 1.5-page synopsis of the students and faculty at Ross with whom I communicated. I kept each highlight at a maximum of three sentences and made sure the following was included:
- How did I become acquainted with the student?
- What was our topic of conversation?
- What did I discover about my fit at Ross through our conversation?
That last point is key — AdCom wants to confirm that an admitted waitlister will become an enrolled waitlister, and applying each method of communication to your overall impression of the program proves that you’re still doing your research.
Note: I highly suggest NOT discussing the communications you had with the school that were kind of iffy. Just remember that not every program is going to be full of happy, smiley-faced people, and you’ll encounter some people on a bad day or who aren’t incredibly helpful. There’s no need to indicate this other than your own personal registry — if you’re writing this update, it’s likely that encounter wasn’t significant enough to detract you from attending. Right? Right.
#8. +8 WEEKS POST-DECISION: Update #3 — Extracurriculars
I’m someone that looks for not just volunteer opportunities, but for chances to lead and explore those organizations. I say this because I don’t want to see someone join 10.5 clubs in the course of two months simply to pad your waitlist profile (nor your applicant profile, frankly!). I’m honestly grateful that Ross, despite being mum, did make it clear that only significant changes to your profile would be acknowledged — this probably avoids them having to sift through updates that describe an applicant’s “just recently acquired” membership in the Columbus Happy Hands Club.
However, I was confident that some of the initiatives I had tackled since January were sufficient, so I included them in my final update. Just to give you some examples, here’s what I highlighted:
- Leading a fundraising initiative with ULAC
- Serving as a volunteer business consultant with a recently-incorporated non-profit
- Advising Engineers Without Borders on fundraising strategies
I also took the step of tying these experiences to my future career goals. Again, this is a key step in ensuring that AdCom views these as “significant” updates.
That, really, was all I did. Two weeks after I submitted my final update, I received an invite to interview , waxed philosophic a little bit afterwards (after almost fainting at the beginning of my chat with Jim — seriously, I don’t get nervous but I mos def was…), then received the oh-so-glorious phone call four days later.
I hope the same fantastic luck — no, skill! — for you as well. Feel free to comment on any of this info, if you’d like me to expound some of the happenings in between updates, etc. Seriously, it’s all, like photographic.