Darden’s full-time MBA application is now live ⁠— it’s a great time to apply to join the Class of 2023! Check out our earlier blog post to read about what’s new for this application cycle.

Executive Director of Admissions Dawna Clarke and Director of Admissions Whitney Kestner recently hosted a webinar that highlighted key components of the Darden MBA and shared insights into the new application cycle. Discussion topics included an overview of the holistic admissions process, details about the expanded test flexibility pilot and a comprehensive look at the short answer questions. View the webinar recording to learn more.

During the live session, participants submitted questions for the panelists to answer, and we’ve shared responses to some of the questions below. The Admissions FAQ section of the Darden website also features a wealth of application resources and insights. Prospective students can also connect with the Admissions team and Darden community in a variety of ways, including:

Webinar Questions and Answers

Standardized Tests:

In what ways can one counter a low GMAT/GPA score? For example, through quant based courses?
Standardized tests are just one piece of information in a broad, holistic application review process. Any of the other areas of the application, such as short essay responses, offer applicants an opportunity to round out their applications to reflect their best selves.

Is there a preference between the standardized tests Darden accepts?
In our full-time MBA application process, we accept several standardized tests — GMAT, GRE, Executive Assessment (EA), MCAT and LSAT. Our Admissions Committee has no test preference, and we view each of the tests we accept in our application process equivalently. Candidates should consider career goals when making test plans. Some employers may request a GMAT or GRE as part of their screening process.

How can I apply for a test waiver?
Candidates who believe they may qualify for a test waiver on the basis of the criteria listed on the FAQs page should submit a test waiver request. There may be trade-offs to not taking a standardized test, including scholarship eligibility and career goals.

Can I submit an updated GMAT score after the deadline?
Yes. If you are planning to retake a standardized test after your target deadline, please note your future test date in the Test Scores section of your application. To do this, simply select your test (GMAT/GRE/EA/MCAT/LSAT) from the dropdown menu and enter your test date. Once you’ve taken the test, please email you unofficial score breakdown to our Admissions inbox and have your official score report sent to our office. If you’ve already submitted your application and you have since decided to retake a standardized test, please email our Admissions inbox with your test details. We will make sure this information is added to your application. Once you’ve taken the test, please email your unofficial score breakdown and have your official score report sent to our office.

Culture and Community:

Can you share more about diversity on campus?
Diversity is a core value at Darden.

I have children. Does Darden have a strong community of families?
Absolutely! There is even a student-led club that is just for student parents and the Darden Partners Association is an opportunity for students’ partners to network and become a key part of the Darden community. Listen to this podcast episode about being a parent while juggling the demands of school.

Application Rounds:

Can you share more about binding and nonbinding options available in Early Action?
Both paths offer all the benefits of Early Action, which is the round we recommend for applicants who know Darden is a top school of choice. For the binding path, this is a way to signal that Darden is your absolute top school. If offered admission in this binding path, you would hear about eligible scholarships and financial aid before having to commit to Darden, but you would be required to withdraw your applications from all other schools at the time of accepting your Darden offer. If you have done a lot of research on other business schools and you feel prepared to put your best foot forward at Darden, this may be a great choice for you. If you are still doing research and not ready to commit to just one school (but know Darden is a top choice), the nonbinding path may be a better fit. You can always schedule a 1:1 MBA conversation to discuss your options.

Does Darden offer a rolling admissions process?
For the 2021 application period (applicants to the Class of 2023), we are not offering rolling admissions. View the current application deadlines.

How do the Early Action open interviews work?
During the open interview period, Early Action interviews are available on a first-come, first-served basis. After the open interview space has filled, interviews will be invite-only. We will host virtual interviews for all applicants until further notice.

When will Early Action interview space become available?
We will begin releasing Early Action open interview space in July.

What are the benefits of applying early versus other rounds?
Applying early has a few benefits, but you should only apply once you feel prepared enough to submit a well-crafted application that puts your best foot forward. For who are ready to apply sooner than later, here are a few reasons to consider submitting your application in an earlier round:

  • Scholarship pool is fully available in earlier rounds
  • Early Action offers open interviews
  • Early Action has a binding and a nonbinding path for more flexibility
  • Find out your decision sooner
  • More space is available for the incoming class

When will the application for 2021 be open?
We are currently accepting applications! Visit https://apply.darden.virginia.edu/apply/

Admissions Process:

What’s the status of deferrals? Will there be less space in the next cohort?
We currently only have a few more deferrals than at this time last year. If you are ready to apply and know that Darden is a top school of choice for you, apply earlier in the process when we have the most space available.

Where can I find more information about dual degrees?
We have more than 10 dual-degree paths! Check out the dual-degree section of our website: https://www.darden.virginia.edu/mba/admissions/dual-degrees. For more information, reach out to Associate Director of Admissions Merav Frazier.

Who is Darden’s ideal candidate?
Darden’s Admissions team takes great care to create a diverse class each year, accepting students with different worldviews, backgrounds, citizenship, work experience, etc. If an intentionally rigorous academic experience with deep engagement and leadership opportunities sounds like you, let’s talk!

How can we attend a virtual class/virtually visit Darden?
Stay tuned for more information later this summer! Once classes resume, we will be sure to share ways to participate in the Darden learning experience.

How can I get to know Darden better?
There are so many ways to connect with us and learn more!

What are some good uses of the supplemental/additional materials section that have helped applications?
Watch this 1-minute video or view this blog post for more insights for Executive Director of Admissions Dawna Clarke’s advice on the additional comments section.

Career Advancement:

Can Darden help admitted students find preMBA internships?
Sure! Though preMBA internships are not required at Darden, our Career Center shares opportunities with admitted students throughout the months leading up to the start of school.

What is Darden doing to support entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship at Darden runs deep! Many students start their first ventures while they’re still on Grounds. Browse the Batten Institute’s page to get a sense of how entrepreneurship and the Darden experience go hand in hand. Learn more about this year’s week long Startup Academy, participate in the VentureLab Incubator, or take part in the Batten Technology Venture Fellows program or Batten Venture Internship Program.

What are the main industries that graduates go into?
We have a whole publication dedicated to career outcomes. Browse through the 2019 Employment Report to see top hiring companies and top industries. Consulting, financial services and technology are very popular!

Financial Aid and Scholarships:

What kind of financing options are available for international students?
Darden makes it a priority to be both affordable and accessible to all students. View the “Options for International Students” tab on the Tuition and Financial Aid page to learn more about the Discover Custom Graduate Loan and Prodigy Finance Loan.

Am I automatically eligible for scholarships when I apply? Are there additional applications?
If admitted, students are also evaluated for merit scholarships, which are competitively awarded based on a variety of metrics and considerations. There are several distinguished scholarships, such as the Jefferson Scholars and Batten Scholars, which require additional applications. Visit Scholarships for more information.