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Selecting The Short List

Narrow down your schools to the neighborhood of about 10-12 total, and arrange them into three categories.

Based on your Exam score, your undergraduate GPA, and the school’s published data in terms of the median numbers of the entering class, you should have:

1-3 SCHOOLS IN THE LONG SHOT CATEGORY

These are schools that you feel are ideal for you, but for which you seem to be — in terms of numbers, at least — out of the ballpark. Your impression might be that your qualifications pale in comparison to the schools’ current students. Do a great job on these applications, and who knows? You may be shocked by the caliber of the schools that accept you. However, don’t hitch your wagon solely to these "stars." Include on your list:

2-5 SCHOOLS IN THE GOOD FIT CATEGORY

"Good fit" meaning that your Exam score and GPA are at, or close to, the school’s published medians, and your visits and correspondence suggest that you and the school are a good match in terms of profile and qualifications. At the same time, try to identify:

1-3 SCHOOLS IN THE "SURE SHOT" CATEGORY

We put "sure shot" in quotes because when it comes to business school admissions, nothing is "sure." But if your Exam score and GPA are above the school’s published medians, and your qualifications compare highly favorably to those of current students, then you have to figure that you’d need to make some serious mistakes to be turned down by a "sure shot" school.

Apply only to schools that you would be willing to attend. No point in wasting your time, energy, and money on a school whose offer you wouldn’t accept in a million years.
Keep the total number of applications down to 10-12. Going beyond this number may compromise your quality control, and that of your recommenders. The larger the number of applications, the more room there is for error.
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