I do believe that often the early bird does get the best worm. And yes, I subscribe to the idea that there is value in applying early—for starters, you show the schools you have your act together and you demonstrate your commitment that they are at the top of your list.
But before pulling that trigger, you need to have answered this basic question: “Is your application the strongest it can be”?
If the answer is not a resounding yes, then perhaps you may want to hold off and go round two. Here are three things that can influence you to postpone your application to the second round:
1. New Job Limits: You’ve just changed jobs and the new job has some really interesting projects that can provide some strong experiences worth bringing to bear in your application.
In this case, holding off for 3 months may be well worth it to give you the chance to further gain experience that can be a huge differentiator for your application.
2. Recommender Challenges: You are struggling to get your recommenders behind you, especially if this is a new job and you need more time to “prove your mettle” so to speak before making a demand on your supervisor to support your candidacy.
3. GMAT Issues: You just took the GMAT and bummed it. Instead of simply plowing ahead and retaking it in 30 days (which doesn’t give you enough time to strengthen your weak spots), you may be better served to push the application to the second round.
This delay will give you time to invest in a course, self study, or one-on-one tutoring.
While the GMAT isn’t the only variable looked at in the evaluation process, it is certainly an important one and if you are in a position to increase your score 50, even 100 points, then submitting the application in the second round is not a bad idea.
This doesn’t include individuals who have taken the GMAT umpteenth times and are chasing the perfect 800!