Admissions, Application Tips, Full-Time MBA

‘Should Business Schools Make Their Full-Time MBA Programs Test-Optional?’

By Maggie Dodson-

MBA-focused publication Poets & Quants recently published an article examining the increasing trend across higher education institutions to look beyond standardized test scores. The story highlighted Darden’s decision to go test flexible for the 2021 application cycle.

“Darden’s decision to make the GMAT and GRE test-optional reawakens an age-old debate about both the usefulness and the fairness of standardized testing,” Poets & Quant’s John Byrne wrote.

Dean Scott Beardsley noted that this approach will help to level the playing field for prospective students who may not be able to afford private tutors or be able to take time from work to take the exam.

When test centers abruptly closed last spring due to the impacts of COVID-19, Darden piloted an expanded set of test credentials for Class of 2022 applicants in order to offer the most flexible process possible during the pandemic — in line with the School’s holistic admissions policy.

“The evidence is so compelling that we can waive the standardized test,” says Darden admissions chief Dawna Clarke, who admitted more than 50 MBA applicants last year without a GMAT or GRE when the school, among several other elite MBA programs, added more flexibility to its admissions procedures when test centers closed due to the pandemic.

For more information about Darden’s current test flexibility initiative, view the recent FAQ blog post: “All About Test Flexibility in Darden’s Full-Time MBA Application.”

Darden Admissions will host several application-focused webinars in advance of its Early Action deadline on 2 September. Join the Admissions Committee for an online session for insights and tips about the new application and the admissions process.

  • Application Tips: Standardized Tests and Test Flexibility
    Wednesday, 12 August | 10 a.m. ET | Sign up
  • Application Tips: Short Answer Questions, Resumes, Recommendations
    Friday, 14 August | 10 a.m. ET | Sign up

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