Admissions Trends to Watch in 2013

2013 Trends

Trends for 2013

2012 has been an exciting year. Experimentation in applications including interviews and essays has marked the most recent admissions cycle. In addition, the recession, growing concern about rising tuition and student debt, and the promise of MOOCs is shaking the world of higher education.  But let’s leave the 35,000 foot view of last year and gaze into the crystal ball for next year.

Trends for 2013

  1. Increased use of MMI in medical school admissions will continue.
  2. For law school, an increasingly practical approach to legal education with more opportunities for externships, internships, and coursework related to legal practice.
  3. More new one-year specialized masters programs like UM’s Masters in Entrepreneurship or Rochester Simon’s menu of one-year specialized masters programs as well more accelerated MBA programs or expansion of existing ones, like those at Kellogg, Columbia, and Cornell. These shorter programs, as well as part-time programs and one-year programs abroad, will present increasing competition to the traditional full-time, two-year U.S. MBA programs.
  4. More experimentation with the MBA interview.  I predict more group interviews, as was introduced by INSEAD and Wharton in the last two years. I also predict continued experimentation with essays and attempts to find alternatives to essays, probably using media other than the written word.
  5. Continued growth of Asian MBA programs as continuing economic contraction in Europe, increasingly restrictive visa policies there, and the relatively strong Asian economy encourage Asian business schools’ growth and competitiveness.

How did I do in 2012?

So that’s what I foresee for this year, but how did last year’s predictions stack up?  How cloudy was my crystal ball. Well I predicted:

  1. Interview experimentation, specifically more use of team interviews for business school. On the money!  :-D
  2. “The trend towards more openness with data (in law school admissions) will spill over to MBA programs.” Not sure here. I think so, but can’t point to anything specific.
  3. “Expect more focus on realistic, well-reasoned goals in all areas of graduate admissions.” Again, I think this is true, but I can’t point to any specific evidence. Jan. 3 2013 News Flash (Edit): I now have some evidence. Today’s Wall Street Journal article M.B.A. Pop Quiz: Are You Employable? reports on increasing number of business schools that are have career services weigh in on admissions decisions.
  4. Increased Flexibility in B-School Curricula.” I expected more schools to move toward the Chicago Booth, UCLA and Wharton models where general requirements can be taken later in one’s b-school career.  Frankly, I haven’t seen this development.

And what did I miss entirely? The shrinking of the MBA application. There have been fewer essays almost across the board.

So my crystal ball definitely had some inaccurate refraction last year. Let’s see how I do in 2013.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.



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