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MBA Waitlisted? Think of it as “Overtime”

Being put on the waitlist for your dream business school can feel frustrating – but the waitlist is not the same as a rejection. It’s not over yet! Today, our friends at The MBA Exchange are here with some advice to help you as you wait.

This guest post is provided by admissions consulting firm The MBA Exchange exclusively for current and future test prep clients of Magoosh.

You’ve just been informed by your dream business school that your application is neither accepted nor rejected.  You’re now on The Waitlist. But, is that good news or bad news? What should you do or avoid doing? From our experience in advising hundreds of waitlisted applicants, The MBA Exchange understands the stress and uncertainty you’re feeling now.

However, your glass is definitely half full!  There are thousands of rejected applicants who would trade places with you in a heartbeat.  Your candidacy is still alive! And, by waitlisting you, the adcom is confirming that you’re qualified for admission.  So, hold your head up high!

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So now the real competition begins.  Think of being waitlisted as the equivalent of “overtime” in a football, basketball or hockey game.  You and your competitors have fought hard to reach this point. And victory is so close you can taste it.  But what are the realities of this overtime scenario. How can you prevail? Drawing from our highly successful waitlist consultations, here are a few suggestions to consider:

1. Take a fresh look at your candidacy.
Have an astute friend or professional advisor review your application. Objectively consider the strengths that kept you from being rejected, and the vulnerabilities that kept you from being admitted. By understanding those aspects of your candidacy, you can get inside the heads of the adcom members who will decide your fate.

2. Don’t disqualify yourself.
Carefully review the school’s instructions and policy for waitlistees.  If they say that you should not contact them with any new info, then sit tight.  However, in most cases, the adcom leaves the door open a crack so a determined waitlistee can continue the dialogue and convince them why he or she should be admitted.  Be assertive, but never arrogant.

3. Make every minute count.
If the school’s waitlist policy allows for email updates, third-party endorsements, campus visits, etc. then go for it.  Show them that you want to join their incoming class more than anything else in your life. Develop an action plan that demonstrates sincere passion, reminds them of the value you could add to the program, and conveys that you will accept an offer of admission promptly if offered.

4. Keep your options open.
Assuming the worst can sometimes result in the best. If you’ve been accepted at other good schools then attend their admit weekends, talk with prospective classmates, confirm whether you’d be happy at School B in case your waitlist status at School A falls through. Even if you have to pay a deposit, keep your spot in the incoming class.  Or if you have no other options, start researching schools that you’d like to target in the next round.  In other words, harness the frustration of being waitlisted to help drive your pursuit of other options.


So, if you’re waitlisted and would like to leverage our admissions experience and expertise to help you achieve success, please visit or email The MBA Exchange today!

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