How Many Business Schools Should You Apply To? It Depends…

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer to this question. The best answer is the frustrating “it depends.” What does it depend on? Your stats, work history, the schools you’re trying to get into, and if you can deal with the possibility of being rejected. There are some who say everyone should apply to 3-4 schools – and that’s it.

However, as we said at the beginning, it really depends…

5 tips for choosing the right number of b-schools for you 

Here are 5 things to consider:

  1. You can safely apply to 2-3 schools if you have found 2-3 that are in line with your goals, have acceptance rates higher than 30%, and where you are strongly competitive.
  1. If you are the rare applicant that can find only 2-3 schools that support your goals and meet your needs, then apply just to those schools.
  1. If you have target schools that you dream of attending, but they are highly competitive (acceptance rates of less than 15%) and/or you aren’t competitive due to your qualifications, you should apply to 1-2 of these and 3-6 programs where you have a good chance of admission.
  1. If you’re applying to schools that admit 15-30% of applicants and you are competitive, but not positive of your acceptance, you should apply to 3-6 in this range as well as 1-2 where your admission prospects are good.

Evaluate your goals and qualifications

As an MBA applicant, you know how important it is to have a clearly defined MBA goal. You must evaluate your goals and qualifications in relation to your competitiveness. If you are one of an overrepresented group applying to business school (think Indian males in the IT sector), you may benefit from applying to additional schools that support your goals or to programs where your stats are clearly above average. Remember that you don’t have to send in all of your applications in Round 1. You can save second-choice or safety applications for Round 2. You can also carefully choose safety schools to apply to.

Bottom line

Some say that applying to 6-8 schools is too expensive, takes too much time, and lowers the quality of your applications. When advising MBA applicants, we stress that It’s important to remember to spread out your applications. Sending in 8-10 applications all at once may result in you submitting rushed applications that won’t present you in the best light. On the other hand, spreading these out over two rounds can increase your likelihood of being accepted. You need to consider all of the ramifications and make your own decision. Again, it all depends…


Do you need help evaluating your unique situation and selecting the exact right b-schools for you to apply to? Check out Accepted’s MBA Admissions Consulting Services for more information on how we can guide you to acceptance at your top choice schools.

Linda Abraham will be sharing 4 steps to choosing the right business school for you in a live webinar Tuesday, April 16 | 8:00pm EST. Register now to save your spot!

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