Applying to business school is a journey—one that takes diligent research and some careful soul searching. Here in the Office of Admissions, we get a lot of questions about the best time to submit your application. And it’s a question that makes a whole lot of sense, right? You’ve invested so much time and energy putting together a competitive application, optimizing your chances for admission just makes good sense.
Our advice is (perhaps frustratingly) pretty simple: apply when you’re ready. Apply when you’ve put together an application you feel accurately represents your abilities and potential. Apply when you know business school is the right next step.
When it comes to differentiating between application rounds, people seem pretty knowledgeable about Early Action, Round 1, and Round 2. Early Action is binding, and a great choice if you know Fuqua is definitely where you want to spend two years. We get the majority of our applications for the year in Rounds 1 and 2, with a similar number submitted during each.
Round 3, then, is inherently a smaller round. And we know it’s also one that people are often warned away from. So we thought now was a good time to speak candidly about Round 3, and dispel some of its associated myths and misconceptions.
Myth #1: People Don’t Get Accepted In Round 3
While we have awarded many of our seats in earlier rounds, we admit students every year in Round 3. Each year, these final applications help to round out and complete our class, and they’re an essential part of the admissions life cycle. Again, it all comes down to your readiness—and if Round 3 feels like the right time, we encourage you to go for it.
If you are applying in Round 3 it’s important to help the admissions team understand your timing. Sometimes that’s related to a work project. Maybe you needed more time to prepare your application because you took the GMAT or GRE multiple times hoping to get the score you were seeking prior to applying. Or perhaps it’s simply an epiphany you had recently about where you want to be in the next two to five years. Whatever the case, make it clear in the application what that catalyst was and why this timing is right.
Myth #2: International Students Can’t Apply In Round 3
While we do encourage international applicants to apply earlier in order to allow sufficient time for visa processing, we have always accepted international students in Round 3. Visa timelines vary year to year and country by country, so if this really feels like the right time for you it may still be feasible as an international applicant. The timeline is tight, but still possible. The best course, as an international student, is to be aware of visa requirements and typical timelines in your country at the time you submit, and be ready to move ahead quickly once you receive an admission decision.
If you have questions about your particular circumstances, we encourage you to reach out to our team and we’ll connect you with your country’s admissions counselor to discuss in more detail.
Myth #3: There Won’t Be Scholarship Money Left
This one is 100 percent false. We award scholarship money every round that we have admitted students. As in all rounds, your application is also the criteria for evaluating your candidacy for a merit-based scholarship. Candidates have the same access to funding no matter the round they apply, and we keep funding aside specifically for our Round 3 applicants.
Myth #4: The Timeline Before Enrollment Will Be Too Tight
Because Round 3 is a smaller round, our admissions team works on a much tighter timeline. This compressed turnaround means you don’t have to wait as long to receive your decision, and you have plenty of time to secure housing, relocate to Durham, and arrange any additional financial aid.
As an admitted student you’ll also be connected with a current student “Fuqua Buddy” to learn about the student body and experience. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with classmates on our active admitted student group on social media.
So, if you feel you’ve put together a competitive and compelling application, and the timing is right, we encourage you to apply. The Class isn’t complete until we fill those final spots.
This blog has been updated since its original publication on January 31, 2019.