Admissions Tips-How the Admissions Committee Evaluates your Academics: The Role of GMAT/GRE and GPA

As students prepare for the ever-competitive landscape of b-school admissions, there is much talk about the role that GMAT or GRE, along with GPA will play in the review process.  What most students don’t realize is that test scores and transcripts are rarely the deciding factor (either way) in an admissions review.  However, competitive scores will help position you in the mix with other great candidates, and then allow for your unique qualities to show through when the Committee considers other factors in your application.  Here are some quick tips and insights:


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  • The GMAT or GRE, along with academic performance in undergrad (and grad study for some students), help the Admissions committee to gauge an applicant’s ability to handle the rigor of our MBA program.
  • Simon will accept either the GRE or the GMAT – you should choose the exam that you think best reflects your capabilities
  • Our Admissions Committee will take a holistic approach when reviewing your profile – students with high test scores or GPA’s have been denied and students with lower test scores or GPA’s are admitted.   We have wide ranges of test scores and GPA’s among our admitted pool of candidates – that middle 80% range is a better indication of the profile of candidates admitted to Simon each year.
  • The cumulative GPA is not evaluated as just a numerical calculation – we also consider the strength of the college or university you attended, the rigor of courses taken, your choice of major/minor, types of classes, and the trend in grades throughout school (hopefully an upward trend).  On a secondary level, we are also interested in other demands on your time during college such as employment or involvement in campus/community activities.
  • You cannot change your GPA at this point (if you’ve already graduated) so use the optional essay to provide an explanation of any gaps in your undergraduate coursework or weak performance on your transcript.  The last thing you want is for us to use our imagination and come up with explanations/conclusions on our own.
  • If you are not satisfied with your test scores, consider taking them again—schools will typically take your highest overall score.  Please keep in mind that we can see all test dates andscores, and it’s okay to take the exam a few times.  Keep in mind though, that it will also be concerning to the committee if you take it too many times.  If you are going to retake the GMAT, you should be confident you are making the best effort possible for a performance that demonstrates improvement – either in the overall score and/or the sub-scores – depending on where you feel there is room to show progress.
  • If your performance in college was below your capabilities or if you did not have much quantitative coursework, consider taking a statistics, calculus, economics, or financial accounting class.  Submitting this information to the Admissions Committee will indicate that you are trying to improve your skill set and prepare for business school.  Keep in mind that the Admissions Committee may request your grade from any additional coursework you are taking  that is in progress, so it’s not just the act of signing up to take the class, the resulting grades will be taken into account  too.

Good luck as you continue to work through the online application – we will look forward to seeing you submit your application for 2014!

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