When I was admissions director there were some things applicants would do that were apparently minor, but that I found to be very annoying. Here are my top 5 “hates” that I’m sure are shared by many AdComs:
1. Asking for information that can be easily found on the school’s website.
Some applicants would do that to “make conversation” or to try to get on the adcom’s good side by letting them “brag” about the school’s strong points. Don’t fall into that trap; it can interpreted as laziness or lack of knowledge about your intended school. Do your research before you talk or email the adcom.
2. Not answering the question.
Schools put a lot of effort in designing their essay questions to get the information they consider important for deciding whether an applicant is a good fit for the school or not. They are aware that you are applying to multiple schools, but really dislike when applicants provide generic answers that do not address the finer details they consider important for their decision. Make sure to tailor your answers to fit with each individual essay question.
3. Contacting the adcom all-the-time.
There are some applicants that just won’t go away. They constantly call with inquiries throughout the application process. This is not only annoying but time consuming and can be detrimental to the outcome of your application. If you must contact the adcom, be strategic, and ask only what you can’t find anywhere else.
4. Demanding feedback.
If you were denied and the school clearly states that feedback is not provided, don’t demand it. If you don’t know why they denied you, contact an admissions consultant. My colleagues and I would be happy to provide you with a Rejection Review diagnosis of your application. Also, never attempt to re-apply to a school without understanding what went wrong in your previous application.
5. Last but not least, adcoms truly hate when applicants ask them about their chances of admission.
It’s understandable you want to know, but the truth of the matter is that the adcom cannot give you an evaluation on the go. If they happily volunteer their thoughts about the strength of your candidacy, that’s great, but don’t put them on the spot asking them something they are not prepared to answer. Asking about your odds puts them in a very awkward position, particularly when those chances are low.
Finally, don’t feel that you have to make yourself known to the adcom by sending them an email about you or your case. Hopefully, they have all they need to know in your application. If you must contact them, do so as you would a prospective employer, with a succinct email, to the point and free of grammatical errors.
By Esmeralda Cardenal, previously the Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, Director of MBA Admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the UK. She is happy to help you showcase your achievements in your MBA application.