Narrowing down schools

So today I’m undertaking the daunting task of narrowing down my expansive list of schools I’d like to apply to. I have a few different factors that I’m considering and my (not-so-short) list looks like this:

  1. Harvard
  2. Stanford
  3. Duke
  4. Cornell (Consortium)
  5. Columbia
  6. NYU (Consortium)
  7. Northwestern
  8. Chicago
  9. Dartmouth (Consortium)
  10. Michigan (Consortium)
  11. Yale (Consortium)
  12. Berkeley (Consortium)
  13. Emory (Consortium)
  14. UVA (Consortium)
  15. Wharton

Yes, it’s overdone and there is no way I can ask my recommenders to write 15 recs for me, so I need to figure this out soon. A few schools (Stanford, Kellogg and Whartom) I know for sure I will be applying to so I’ve already started the essay writing process back in August for those. Several of my other schools though, which are members of the Consortium Graduate Study in Management (CGSM) need to be narrowed down. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or resources to visit most of these schools so I’ll just have to rely on google, current students and talking to admission counselors as well as MBA fairs.

The other issue (I don’t like to call it an issue) is my GMAT score. For all of these schools my score falls well within the 80% range of accepted students but in reality I’m fearful of the fact that because my work experience is non-traditional and not as long as the cream of the crop this could really hurt me for certain schools. And for some of my top choices my score is still below the median. I mentioned before that I took time off of school, and during that time I worked and spent time traveling in Africa but does that really count? The answer I get is across the board so I have to think long and hard on this one.

Next steps: Talk to potential recommenders, condense list, chill out.

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