29-year-old First-Generation, Latina Immigrant Offered a Full Scholarship to Washington Foster, Accepted to Duke and Georgetown
Our client Cynthia immigrated to the US from Mexico, knowing that she wanted to eventually obtain an advanced degree. She worried that she wasn’t the typical business school applicant.
Cynthia shared, “My background is in Human Resources. That’s what I do for work right now. I felt like I wasn’t necessarily the most attractive candidate for school because I had this idea in my head that business school was for people who come from consulting, finance, or banking and that type of thing. That’s just not me.”
However, she decided to pursue an MBA anyway to build her network in the US. Cynthia was researching how to ask a supervisor for a letter of recommendation when she came across a blog post from The Art of Applying®. That’s when Cynthia decided she needed help. As the first person in her family to go to college, and with the rest of her network attending graduate school in Mexico, Cynthia signed up for the Application Accelerator®.
When Cynthia signed on, she had already been preparing for the GRE and was not happy with her scores. She took the GRE and the GMAT three times each. When applicants work with The Art of Applying®, their consultant helps them set a target test score. While Cynthia worked hard preparing for her test, she never reached the target score. After taking multiple tests, she landed a score not much better than her first one.
Distraught, Cynthia decided to postpone her application because she feared that her test score would hurt her chances. However, she signed on to work with us for the next application cycle and tried again. It was well worth it! Even with a less-than-stellar GRE score, Cynthia was admitted to multiple business schools. She even received a full Consortium scholarship to the University of Washington – Michael G. Foster School of Business!
Looking back on it now, Cynthia wishes she had submitted her application in the first cycle and not let a test score hold her back. She shared, “I regret [waiting] because I feel like I wasted a lot of time, energy, money, and effort on these tests. They are important, but it’s only a component of your whole application…I [thought], I have to get a perfect score or I’m not going to get a scholarship, or I’m not going to be admitted.” Fortunately, that was not the case. We are thrilled to see where Cynthia goes!
For other applicants who may be doubting themselves, Cynthia had some words of advice, “Even when you have those thoughts [of doubt], keep going. Keep working on your essay…. Don’t let an exam or a test or a GPA stop you…If you want this to be a reality, you can make it happen.“
Start Date: May 2019 | End Date: May 2021
- GPA: 3.7 (equivalent)
- GRE: 307
- GMAT: 550
- Work experience: 5 years in Human Resources
- Major: Business
- Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
- University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business
- Duke’s Fuqua School of Business
- Duke’s Fuqua School of Business – $90,000 scholarship
- University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business – full scholarship
Cynthia shares how she worked through her apprehension about investing in The Art of Applying®:
“It was scary, especially because I didn’t have that amount of money, but I knew that I needed help. I knew that if I didn’t get the help I was just not going to get into any US schools… [And] you don’t know if something is a real company or if people are just going to take your money. So that was another fear that I had but after talking with [Kaneisha, the founder and CEO], talking with members of the team, and watching some interviews and videos, that just made me feel like, ‘Okay, I need help, and I’m going to get it.'”
Cynthia weighs in on how joining The Art of Applying® gave her the support and community that she needed to feel confident in her application:
“The fact that The Art of Applying® has a community of people going through the same process is really helpful. In my family, no one really has that experience. Most of my network is in Mexico so the process is not the same. I didn’t really have that support system, so I think that is one thing that is really important, going through the same process with people and not feeling like you’re alone.”
Cynthia’s advice for people who want to wait until they receive a perfect score to apply to graduate school:
“I would say it’s only a part of your application. Don’t spend too much time on that piece, because then you’re wasting valuable time in other parts of your application, where you can actually inspire the admissions committee. You can not necessarily inspire with a test score… [a good score is] impressive but that’s not inspiring. If you focus on your essays you can tell your story, you can inspire a reader. I think that’s what you should be doing instead of focusing too much on the test score…Give yourself a couple of months to really focus on other things because… I wasted a lot of time and the test scores didn’t really make a difference. If I could have submitted my first try, it would have been the same as my sixth.”