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by Vault Education Editors | March 12, 2010

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Applying to business school in the third and final round of admission is often considered the Hail Mary play of MBA admissions. Business schools have already accepted more than two-thirds of their new class, so competition is pretty steep, to say the least. So if there's any way you can wait until next fall, postponing your application is often a good idea.

Harvard University photo from across the Charles RiverBut for college seniors, applying in Round 3 might be the smart choice, rather than the last-minute one. Dee Leopold, admissions director at Harvard Business School, posted five reasons why applying to HBS as a college senior is a good idea. Perhaps even a great one. Here they are:

  1. The positive outcome is going to be "deferred admission"--a guaranteed spot in the class of 2014 with the stipulation that you work for two years before matriculation.
  2. No target or cap on the number of deferred admit spots we will offer. Last year 43 college seniors were offered deferred admission.
  3. No downside: If you aren't admitted, apply again in a couple of years--lots of denied college seniors are successful in the future.
  4. The application fee is only $100. [ed. The regular fee is $250.]
  5. GMAT/GRE scores are good for five years--why not take the test in college while you are still in test-taking mode?

For college seniors planning to apply to business school eventually who aren't bogged down with graduation woes, applying now seems like a no-brainer. As Clear Admit points out, Leopold's reasoning is both "interesting" and "pragmatic"--certainly "food for thought." The HBS Round 3 deadline is April 3rd. While it's probably too late to study and take the GMAT or GRE, if you've done either you should have enough time. Round up some recommenders, take your resume to career services and write your essays!

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