A Few of the Mostest at Accepted.com

This is the time of year to look back at the most, best, (worst), etc. I am going to stick to the positive.

Top Ten Most Visited Accepted Admissions Almanac Posts of 2010:

In a nutshell, rankings and application tip posts rule. (I am only listing the current tip post when last year’s tip post also made the list):

  1. Financial Times Global 2010 MBA Rankings
  2. Forbes ROI MBA Rankings for 2010
  3. Harvard HBS 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  4. INSEAD 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  5. NYU Stern 2011 MBA Application Questions, Tips, Deadlines
  6. Common Application Essay Tips
  7. Columbia 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  8. 2010 MBA Rankings Released by BusinessWeek
  9. Kellogg 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  10. London Business School 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

Three Most Commented Accepted Admissions Almanac Posts of 2010

  1. Harvard HBS 2010 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (269)
  2. INSEAD 2010 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (246)
  3. INSEAD 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (60)

Keep ‘em coming! (Please post your questions about this year’s applications on this year’s tips.)

Five Most Popular Articles on Accepted.com of 2010:

  1. Go for the Goals in your Statement of Purpose
  2. Tips for Writing Letters of Recommendation for Medical School
  3. 4 Must-Haves in Residency Personal Statements
  4. MBA Admissions: Low GMAT or GPA 
  5. Sample MBA Interview Questions

Most Popular Resources of 2010:

Our Absolute, Best, Most Superlative Asset: YOU, our readers, followers, fans, subscribers, and most of all, our clients.

On behalf of Accepted’s staff, this post is where I

Thank you, all of you Acceptees, for making 2010 our best year ever!

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com.

MBA Admissions: Third Round or Next Year?

GMAT Delhi, in his blog GMATTING: My GMAT Preparation, asks a great question to the MBA applicant blog-o-sphere: To Apply in Round 3 or Round 1 in 2011?

Answer: It depends.

Round 3 applicants are accepted at lower rates than applicants in earlier rounds for the vast majority of schools that share such data. At the same time, schools don’t have a third round solely to reject all comers. Stellar candidates and qualified, competitive applicants who add diversity to a class can be accepted during the third round, especially if they are domestic or come from countries with minimal visa issues. Third round applicants also need to realize that grants and scholarships are harder, if not impossible, to obtain later in the application cycle.

While acknowledging the downside of a late round application, let’s also look at the upside:

  1. You will have a chance of matriculating in Fall 2011. If you don’t apply R3/4, your chances of attending come fall are -0-.
  2. A few programs still give feedback to rejected applicants. That feedback could improve your Fall 2011 applications. Don’t apply just to obtain feedback, but getting feedback could make applying educational and worthwhile, even if unsuccessful.

You should apply R3 if you:

  • Applied R1, were rejected at all schools, believe you simply aimed too high, and now want to apply to less competitive programs where you are likely to be admitted. You’re ready and set; you need to go!
  • Are a qualified, non-traditional applicant or member of an under-represented group.
  • Prefer to have a slight chance of acceptance now over no chance.

Here are a few of the many reasons why you might want to postpone your application until next fall. (Hint: most relate to readiness):

  • If you don’t have time to edit and polish your essays to perfection, don’t hit SUBMIT until fall.
  • If your GMAT score isn’t so great and you plan to retake the exam after the deadline, then you should wait until you can submit a higher score with your application.
  • If you won’t be able to secure strong recommendations until next year, apply next year.
  • If you want to improve your qualifications and need more time to do so, wait.
  • If an additional year of work experience would strengthen your application, wait.
  • If you would find rejection devastating, wait.

So, GMAT Delhi, here’s how I would apply the “It depends” to you: Given the tremendous competition at the schools you are targeting and the benefits of additional experience and enthusiastically positive letters of recommendation from your bosses, I recommend you wait until Fall 2011 and apply Round 1 with a beefier resume and those shiny letters in hand.

Good luck!

Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Do Not Give “Canned” Answers to Interview Questions

Although it is important to practice your interviews, interviewers are looking for genuine, unforced answers to their questions. You do not want to sound rehearsed – and please, do not answer their questions with answers that you think they want to hear, instead of what you really think or feel.

There might not always be a right or wrong answer to a question posed during an interview. The interview has more to do with how you express yourself than with what you say or know. Sometimes an applicant may give an answer to a question that he or she wanted the interviewer to ask rather than answering the question that was actually asked. This may call the applicant’s listening skills into question. Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question.

Be sure to review your answers to your primary application as well as to the medical school’s secondary application as part of your interview preparation. If you are asked about something you wrote about in your application and you respond with, “I am not sure what you are talking about. Could I please see the essay?” you will sound completely unprepared for you interview and will bring all the answers to the questions in your application into question. 

 This post is excerpted from 101 Tips on Getting Into Medical School by Jennifer C. Welch, who has served as the Director of Admissions at SUNY Upstate Medical School since 2001.


Medical School Admissions Round Up

  • The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published a new book, Medical Students with Disabilities: Resources to Enhance Accessibility, that provides medical school educators with the tools and resources they need to help students with disabilities.
  • You can now view the latest AAMC Analysis in Brief, a report that explores the connection between students’ socioeconomic status and med school completion. The study finds that students of parents without undergraduate degrees have a greater likelihood of dropping out of medical school in the first two years than do students of a higher socioeconomic background. MCAT scores played little role in the dropout rate.
  • The 2010 Matriculating Student Questionnaire (MSQ) results were released to reveal first-year med students’ opinions and experiences about the application process, school choice, and career goals. Here are some of the questionnaire findings (from the executive summary):
    • 61% of students took the MCAT once. 28.3% took it twice. 8.4% took it three or more times. And 2.3% didn’t take it at all.
    • 65.3% of students took an MCAT prep course, compared to 68.5% in 2008.
    • 47.1% of students waited at least one year between college and medical school. 52.9% of students went straight from college to med school.
    • 10.3% of students plan on entering a career as a full-time academic faculty member (teaching, research). 60.4% plan on going into full-time clinical practice. 8.5% chose “Other” as their future career intention. And 20.8% are undecided.
    • Most students plan on entering the field of internal medicine (17.7%). Coming in second was pediatrics at 13.7%. 10.3% plan to go into surgery. All other specialties are under 10%.
    • 24.2% of students plan to open practices in underserved communities. 13.7% have no such plan. And the remaining 62.1% are undecided.

Are you applying to medical school this year? Buy Accepted’s popular med school application ebook, Write Your Way to Medical School, for soup-to-nuts guidance on the medical school application process and personal statements.

Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Writing a Winning Harvard 1

Some of you may think I am obsessed with videos about Harvard Business School. Although we are just getting started in video, Accepted already posted one video with tips  on HBS’ MBA application, and is now posting its second. But let’s face it, it’s Hahvaaad.

In any case, in my reviews of HBS 1 essays, I am frequently struck by the monotony and shallowness of the responses. In the video below I suggest an alternative approach that will differentiate those of you who use it and hopefully encourage you to think more deeply about those three key achievements.


My apologies for the closeness to the deadline of this post. I don’t expect all of you who have written, edited, edited again, and proofed your Harvard essays to trash your current HBS 1. I am posting this video for those of you who aren’t near completing the essay for your round 2 submission — yes there are a few — and for round 3 applicants. And if course if HBS uses this question again, there is always next year.

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com.

MBA Recruiting Increases for Some Top Companies

A Poets & Quants article highlights the hiring statistics reported by the MBA class of 2010. Here are some highlights from the 2010 employment reports at several top business schools:

  • McKinsey & Co. was the number one recruiter at Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, and MIT, despite the slight decrease in the number of MBAs hired this year compared to last year. The company hired 44 MBAs from Wharton (down from last year’s 50), 38 MBAs from Columbia (12 fewer than last year), 15 grads from MIT (compared to 24 last year), and 24 from Chicago Booth (a slight increase from 2009′s 23 grads).
  • The P&Q article calls the Boston Consulting Group “the most aggressively expanding MBA hirer.” The company hired 43 MBAs from the Wharton class of 2010 (a significant increase from the class of 2009′s 31 hires), 19 MBA from Chicago Booth (up from last year’s 9 grads), 25 from Columbia (up from last year’s 21), and 14 from MIT Sloan (an increase from 2009′s 8 graduates).
  • McKinsey hired 32 MBAs from Kellogg (an increase from last year’s 26), but the school’s top recruiter was the Boston Consulting Group, hiring 35 graduates this (versus last year’s 23 hires).
  • Other companies like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs showed significant recovery in their hiring this past year from the economic recession in 2008-2009. Morgan Stanley doubled its hiring at Columbia and Chicago Booth.
  • Deloitte Consulting’s heavy hiring grounds in 2010 were at Columbia, Duke Fuqua, Berkeley Haas, and Michigan Ross.
  • The highest salary reported by a member of the MBA class of 2010 was $330,000 a year from a Stanford graduate who landed a job at an unidentified private equity firm.
  • The median salary for a graduate in private equity was $135,000, with a median signing bonus of $35,000 and “median additional guaranteed compensation was a whopping $155,000. Very few MBA candidates per year go directly into private equity.

MBA applicants who have a clear idea of the professional direction they want to go in should find this data (and rest of the data in the P&Q article, “BCG Expanded MBA Hiring This Year“) helpful.

Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

College Admissions News: College Value, Undergrad Profiles, and ROTC


  • 89% of college graduates say that they had a positive undergraduate experience that was “worth the time and money.” 85% of graduates said they felt their education had adequately prepared them for the jobs they now held. 80% said they would choose the same undergraduate institution if faced with the decision again. See The Chronicle for Higher Education article, “Nearly 90% of Young Alumni Say Going to College Was Worth It, Survey Finds,” for more information.
  • Another Chronicle article, “Who are the Undergraduates?” offers highlights from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study from 2007-2008 on the makeup of the national undergraduate student body. According to the study, more than a third of all undergrads are part-time students. Another finding: More than twice as many students enroll in the University of Phoenix’s undergraduate online campus as attend an Ivy League college.
  • Harvard University will reopen its doors to the Reserve Officers’ Training  Corps (ROTC) after four-decades of non-recognition (since the Vietnam War) now that Congress has repealed the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. The school — its faculty and students — objected to having an ROTC unit on campus because of “what they saw as discrimination against gays and lesbians.” The full extent to which Harvard will recognize ROTC is still unclear. (Source: Boston.com, “After 4 decades, Harvard opens door to ROTC“)

Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Writing Your Human Interest Personal Statement

‘Tis the season of giving and sharing, and so I will share an admissions secret with you. Ready?

Here goes:

Admissions committee members are human beings. They are people, just like you and me.

While this may seem obvious to you, I happen to know from reading piles of application essays and personal statements, that while you may understand this concept on one level, your writing does not always reflect this knowledge.

So what does the sheer humanity of admissions people imply? How does the fact that they are humans (and not robots and not monsters and not aliens) affect your personal statements and application essays?

  • Humans like stories, which means that the adcom humans would appreciate if you told them yours. And it should go without saying that true, real-life stories are the way to go—they can be just as compelling as fiction and won’t get you automatically dinged.
  • Humans don’t all respond the same way, which means your story will have to appeal to a wide audience. Don’t try to imagine, “What will my reader think of this?” because, frankly, there’s no way for you to know what a single individual will enjoy. Write from your heart without worrying about a single end reader. Some people who read your essay will love it and other may not; your writing will appeal to the greatest number of people if you write honestly. (Just note: One thing all adcoms do have in common is their mutual dislike for typos and sloppy writing.)

Your human interest piece should come alive with personal anecdotes. It should engage your reader not because you wrote it for your particular imagined reader, but because you wrote it wholeheartedly, genuinely, and thoughtfully.

Present your humanity as you would like another human being to read it. Not a machine, not a monster, and not an alien.

?Learn how to write a memorable, compelling personal statement or application essay when you view Essays that Stick, a FREE, 45-minute webinar filled with professional writing tips! 

Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Law School Admissions Round Up

  • Renowned professor of constitutional law Laurence H. Tribe will return to the faculty at Harvard Law School in January and recommence teaching in the 2011-2012 academic year. Due to a benign brain tumor, Tribe has cut short the two-year leave he had taken from HLS to serve as the first Senior Counselor for Access to Justice in the Justice Department. Tribe was appointed University Professor in 2004, which is the highest academic honor a faculty member can receive at Harvard, “reserved for just a handful of professors throughout the university,” according to the HLS web site.
  • The American Bar Association has delayed its decision about accrediting foreign law schools. The council decided it needs more time to complete the study. Meanwhile, this issue has sparked much controversy, with many opposing the concept. While the ABA did note that foreign law students should be spending actual time in the U.S. to “learn U.S. values and ethics,” another determining factor is the “potential negative effect on U.S. lawyers.” We do not need more lawyers flooding the legal job market at the moment, and allowing foreign attorneys to sit for and pass the bar would just create more competition for a dearth of jobs.
  • Interested in law school and choosing a major? A recent study examined which majors tend to yield higher LSAT scores, and the results are somewhat surprising. Of the 29 majors listed, Pre-law and Criminal Justice ranked lowest, with LSAT scores of 148 and 146, respectively. The highest-scoring major was Physics/Math, with an average score of 160, followed by Economics and Philosophy/Theology, which tied with 157. For the complete results, check out Most Strongly Supported.  
  • New Hampshire’s chief justice John Broderick Jr. will be the new dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center, New York Lawyer reports. Broderick aims to produce more “practice-ready graduates” by “ensuring that students have a basic grasp on business principles and a general understanding of how to run a law practice.” He also hopes to enhance the school’s excellent reputation in intellectual property, and to look into adding more joint-degree programs, due to the school’s recent affiliation with the University of New Hampshire.
  • For those of you aspiring for a Supreme Court clerkship who don’t know how realistic it is, check out Brian Leiter’s Law School Rankings, which has recently ranked schools according to Supreme Court clerkship placement in the last decade. The schools are ranked by total number of clerks, although the total number of clerks divided by recent class size is listed as well. Harvard takes the top spot, followed by Yale, University of Chicago, Stanford, and Columbia and University of Virginia tied for fifth. 

Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Admissions News Round Up

  • CMU Tepper‘s Provost and Executive Vice President, Mark S. Kamlet, was recently appointed Acting Dean of the business school effective January 1, 2011. The current dean, Kenneth Dunn, will be stepping down on that date, and Kamlet will serve in his place until a new dean is chosen. (Source: CMU Tepper Press Release, Dec. 16, 2010)
  • Yale SOM received a $50 million pledge from school alum, Ned Evans ’64. The gift is the largest in the b-school’s history and will support the construction of its new campus. According to Dean Sharon Oster, “the gift will help SOM expand its influence in scholarship and practice and further its involvement in the Yale community.” (Source: Yale Daily News, “SOM receives $50M pledge“)
  • An article by Richard Lyons, dean of UC Berkeley Haas, highlights the ways in which leadership can help reduce the world’s unsustainabilities. One point Lyons makes is that b-school need to construct their curriculums to create “path-bending” leaders who are competent in problem framing, experimentation, influence without authority, and managing ambiguity and conflict. He also calls for change in the way business schools approach admissions and culture. Read The Economist‘s “The MBA Goes Back to School” for more.
  • Alumni giving is on the rise compared to the number of b-school graduates who donated money last year, but the dollar amount of those donations has dropped. Donations (both in the number of donors and the amount of money) are still not up to par with pre-recession giving, reports a Businessweek article “B-School Alumni Giving Is Up—Sort Of.” “What studies have been showing is that giving has been coming back to a certain extent, but it is not robust,” explains William Jarvis of the Commonfund Institute. “Giving remains subdued compared with what it had been before the downturn.”
  • Michigan Ross‘s Director of Admissions, Soojin Kwon Koh, wrote an article for the Ross website titled, “Use the interview to add dimension to the paper version of you,” in which she discusses ways in which you can best prepare for your admission interview. The advice, which includes tips like “Be professional” and “Know yourself” apply to all interviewees, not just those interviewing at Ross. You can find similar advice on how to distinguish yourself during your interview by signing up for Accepted’s Interview Prep Course, a FREE 5-part email course.

What do you hope to be asked during your MBA admissions interview? Let us know what you think when you enter Accepted.com’s Facebook Fans MBA Face-Off Contest! You could win interview prep resources valued up to $50!

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