Top ten mistakes you won’t want to make when filling out your application

Imagine your file in the hands of an admissions officer.

The team is making first round selections, identifying which applications will receive a closer examination and which won’t. Yours is one of hundreds to pass through their fingers. To secure a spot in the MBA program of your choice, note the top ten errors that make officers less likely to give your application a second glance:

  1. Submitting poor letters of recommendation: If you asked a colleague’s uncle for a recommendation because he is an influential state senator, you made a mistake. Don’t ask someone to write a letter on your behalf simply because they occupy a position of high standing. Choose writers who can comment meaningfully on your accomplishments and personality. All Lazaridis MBA applicants, dependent on program, are required to submit three professional or academic references.
  2. Hiding behind excuses: It’s one thing to briefly address a subpar undergraduate GPA or large gap in your work history in an essay, but to defend a poor GMAT score on the basis of you catching the flu that week is quite another. Work on improving what you can, and don’t belabor explanations when it comes to missteps in your past.
  3. Constantly contacting admissions officers: The admissions office at any institution is bound to be busy scheduling visits, interviewing, and handling other operational tasks. Sending weekly messages to inquire about your application can become too repetitive. Persistence is a positive quality, but there is a fine line before it becomes too much. Lazaridis MBA applicants are encouraged to schedule an appointment, or contact an advisor by email to ask any questions.
  4. Not following instructions: If an essay calls for 500 words, don’t overdo it and send 800. Showing disregard for directions is a red flag to admissions officers.
  5. Not thinking through your program selections: Because you want to submit the highest quality applications that you can, be selective about which programs you apply to. The process is intense and demands a great deal of time, energy, and money. For these reasons, applying to more than six or seven programs isn’t strategic.
  6. Including a standardized essay: Check the city, check the school and program name, check the address. Admissions officers won’t respond positively to hearing how badly you want to attend another university’s MBA program. Essays that are copied and pasted also often fail to illustrate how you fit into your target school’s specific program and culture.
  7. Filling the application with platitudes: The person reading your application doesn’t want to hear about how you’re seeking admission to their world-renowned, top-tier program and how that will truly help give you the skills you need to become an industry leader and transform the world. Yes, but what about you? Give concrete examples of interests and experiences. Don’t say you are passionate, demonstrate it.
  8. Failing to connect the dots: Reexamine how you are communicating your unique story. Everyone’s path is different, and every program also has its own distinctive qualities. Understand where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how this program will help you get there. Have a clear vision, and be authentic and descriptive in presenting it.
  9. Completing the application the night before: Writing takes time. It is obvious when an application is short on self-analysis and research about the program. You will end up selling yourself short if you decide that you can cram a significant application into six hours. It leads to typos and misspellings, but more importantly, will look like a last-minute effort.
  10. Not polishing your resume: Ensure that this critical document is well-formatted, with equal spacing between sections, consistent style and fonts, and proper organization. Keep all information current and meaningful. Parade your skills, don’t let them fall into the murk of poor formatting and verbosity. 

Taking care to comb through all aspects of your application will improve your chances of admission at any school you may apply to. Curious about the application process for Laurier’s diverse formats? Check out what you’ll need here.