The economic downturn has led to a boom in undergraduate business school applications. More and more students are seeing the benefits of learning about business immediately after high school. This has led to a very competitive admissions process among business schools. But, you shouldn’t let that stop you from pursuing a business degree. There are many different ways to grab the attention of an admissions committee.
A Good GPA
Undergraduate business schools often look at an applicant’s GPA to determine whether or not the applicant can handle the kind of curriculum the school offers. A high GPA demonstrates your ability, determination, and ambition. A low GPA can raise a red flag and may require a bit of explanation–the extent of which will depend on the school you apply to. Wharton applicants, for example, have an average GPA of 3.9. If you are applying to Wharton with a 3.0, you may be forced to address this weakness in your application.
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Decent Test Scores
Decent standardized test scores are also important to undergraduate business schools. Scores from standardized tests are often used to determine an applicant’s ability to do math, read critically, and communicate though writing. A high test score does not guarantee admission by any means, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. An abnormally low test score, on the other hand, can be damaging to an application that isn’t strong in other areas. Business applicants who are trying to determine whether or not their score is high, low, or average should keep in mind that average SAT scores tend to be slightly higher among business program applicants than they are among other program applicants. If you have any doubts about where you fall, visit the school’s website or contact an admissions rep to find out the average of other applicants.
Like all business schools, undergraduate business schools like to see leadership potential in their applicants. Admission committees won’t focus only on what you have done–they aren’t looking for experience alone. Want they want to see is that you have the potential to lead and help other people get stuff done. You can demonstrate your leadership potential through your essay, interview, and letters of recommendation.
The Ability to Communicate
The ability to communicate is as important in business school as it is in the business world. Undergraduate business schools typically judge your ability to communicate by looking at various aspects of your application, namely your essay and your interview. Your essay demonstrates your ability to communicate ideas through writing, while your interview shows how well you communicate verbally.
Good Letters of Recommendation
Although securing letters of recommendation can seem like little more than a formality to applicants, recommendations are extremely important. Admissions committees pour over these letters to gain insight into your strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and potential. If your recommendation letters do not exemplify your personal, academic, and professional qualities, the admissions committee will be forced to draw their own conclusions about these things. This is something to be avoided at all costs. Admissions committees may not be able to draw the generous picture that can be drawn by someone who knows you well.
To excel in an undergraduate business program, you must have a certain amount of ambition. If you don’t have the will or the desire to succeed, there is little chance to do well–and business schools want you to do well. You need to show the admissions committee that you not only want success, but that you are willing to strive for it.
In recent years, undergraduate business schools have become more aware of the importance of a diverse student body. They have actively begun recruiting women and minorities to their programs to mirror the type of diversity that exists in the working world. Non-traditional students are especially attractive to many business schools. Although there is very little you can do to make yourself more diverse, you can play to this aspect if you do fall into the non-traditional category.
Compatibility is a huge factor for any undergraduate business school. Admissions committees look specifically for applicants who will fit well into a school’s business program. Some of the things a committee will consider include your personality, academic ability, and future goals. Making sure you are compatible with the program you are applying to will significantly increase your chances of getting accepted.
Guest post from Karen Schweitzer, the About.com Guide to Business School. Karen also writes about online university programs for OnlineColleges.net.
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