Planning to apply to our Full-Time MBA Program? We have one more application deadline for our 2019 cycle – Round 3 on 3 April! Today on the blog, we take on a number of Round 3-related questions we often receive from applicants. If you’re targeting our executive formats, we have a number of upcoming deadlines, and 10 February is our next opportunity to apply. 

Every year, as our Round 3 deadline approaches, we hear the same questions: “Is Round 3 too late?” “Should I even bother applying?” “Should I just wait until next year?”

The easy answer to the above questions is that it is not too late, and there are a number of good reasons to apply in Round 3. We have this deadline for a reason: We know every applicant’s timing is unique, and some candidates are simply unable to apply earlier. Every year, we extend offers to Round 3 applicants, and this year will be no exception.

Here are a few more things to know:

We often note that Round 3 is our most competitive round. Why is this the case?

It’s largely a function of timing. At this point in the cycle, our class has begun to take shape. We have extended a number of offers and many of those offers have been accepted. As a result, by Round 3, in contrast to our Early Action round or even Round 1, when things are still very much developing, we have a better feel for what our matriculated class might look like, and, as a result, there are fewer seats available.

However, every year is different and each cycle has its own rhythm. In some years, Round 3 is smaller. In other years, it’s a little larger. But, as noted above, Round 3 is always part of our plans. We meet great candidates in this round, and we know this year will be no exception.

So, what about this year?

We are very pleased with our application volume through our Early Action, Round 1 and Round 2 deadlines. We have seen steady interest across each round, and we are excited by the early returns on our offers. That said, we still have seats in our class, and we plan to make offers of admission in Round 3.

Is there any scholarship money left?

We are fortunate to have a fairly sizeable scholarship budget, and this allows us to make awards across the cycle. That said, we do have a finite amount of scholarship money, and, as a rule, we have more money to award earlier in the cycle, and less money to award later in the cycle.

Of course, this is the reality this year, but we do still have money to award. And, all admitted students are automatically considered for a merit scholarship award – even in Round 3.

I’m still not sure if I should apply. Maybe I should just wait and apply early in the coming cycle?

If you’re on the fence about Round 3 and thinking about potentially waiting until the 2020 cycle to apply, consider this: If you have the time and resources, there is almost no reason not to apply.

Why? Well, if you are admitted, you get to start your MBA program a full year earlier than if you waited to apply. If you are not admitted, you will have a sense of how to strengthen your application for the upcoming cycle, and you will have several months before our Early Action round to do so.

But wait. Won’t it look bad if I apply in Round 3 and then re-apply a few months later?

No. There is no harm in reapplying. We value our reapplicants, and we are deeply appreciative of candidates who remain interested in Darden across admissions cycles. Of course, we’ll want to know how you sharpened your application since you last applied, but, armed with feedback from the prior cycle, you will be making those enhancements from a place of information. 

Okay, I’m going to apply Round 3. Any tips you would like to share?

Make a personal connection. We are an Admissions Committee that likes getting to know our applicants, and if you are applying in Round 3, we strongly encourage you to reach out. Schedule a conversation. Attend our upcoming Showcase. And, as you work on your application, join us for our app-related webinars (see below).

As you assemble your application materials, we also encourage you to read through our ongoing Application Tips blog series, and consider using the Additional Comments section of your application to provide some additional context around your application timing. This is really useful information for our Admissions Committee and can help us orient to your story and timeline.

Wait. There are going to be application-related webinars?

Yes! In the coming weeks, we will host several webinars focused on helping you navigate the application process. We look forward to seeing you online!

Round 3 Frequent Applicant Questions
13 February | 1:30 p.m. EST

Round 3 Top Applicant Tips
20 March | 1:30 p.m. EST

Round 3 Application Hotline
1 April | 1:30 p.m. EST