Stanford Puts out the Call for More Round 3 Applicants

Wow, Stanford GSB wants more applicants?? Last week Derrick Bolton posted a message on Stanford’s blog encouraging anyone who’s on the fence to pull the trigger and apply to Stanford this year, by the school’s Round 3 deadline. Could Stanford really need applicants this year? Is the school trying to pad its numbers?

Probably not. While it’s doubtful that an MBA program such as Stanford needs more applicants, this year Stanford’s Round 3 admissions deadline (April 8th) is nearly three weeks later than last year’s, and no top MBA program has a Round 3 deadline nearly as late as Stanford’s. We’re not sure of Stanford’s reasons for this change, but it could be that Stanford made this move to snag a few extra top-tier candidates that HBS and Wharton, etc., may miss out on because of their earlier R3 deadlines. Now that Stanford is the last top school accepting applications for the Class of 2011, perhaps Bolton has so far been underwhelmed by the number (and quality?) of applicants that this strategy has brought in this year.

On the Stanford blog he writes:

The media hype says that business school applications soar when the economy is bad and, as such, there won’t be any spots left for third round applicants. This simply isn’t true. And we worry that some great people may delay applying because of these misperceptions. Historically, we’ve found that applications follow demographic cycles more than economic cycles.

We assure you that we admit outstanding individuals in all three rounds–this year is no exception. While it is true that the final round typically is smaller than the first two, we do admit excellent candidates in Round 3–including our current Director of MBA Admissions.

So the real question to ask yourself is when do you want to enroll? If the answer is September 2009, then you should apply now in Round 3. If you’re admitted, great. If not, then you’re in a better position for September 2010 having already begun the self-reflection process for your first-round application.

Odds are that you decided months ago to apply this year, or you already know that you definitely won’t apply any sooner than this coming fall. It’s good to see messages like this coming out of a top-tier MBA program, because it suggests that your chances this year may be a little better than some expected, but our advice remains the same: Only apply when you’re ready, and only when you have a competitive GMAT score, can get outstanding letters of recommendation, and have enough time to create strong admissions essays. Don’t apply in Round 3 just on a lark!

For more advice on applying to Stanford GSB, read Your MBA Game Plan or follow us on Twitter.

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