We can’t believe we’re already halfway through! So let’s take a quick recap of what we’ve learned so far. Secret #1 was that honesty is the best policy. Secret #2 was that aiming high can make it easier to apply, and get in. And secret #3 was that aspiration beats achievement. With these secrets alone you are well on your way to multiple Ivy League acceptances. But we’ve got three more, so are you ready? Here’s secret #4:
Any weakness can be overcome.
That’s right. You have the power to determine just how ready the admissions committee thinks you are for the Ivy League experience. We know that everyone thinks you need to have an insanely high GMAT score to get into Harvard Business School, but we’re gonna let you in on a bonus secret. This simply isn’t true. Our founder, Kaneisha, got into Harvard Business School with a 620 GMAT score. We had a client this past year who had a GMAT score in the 500’s, and he was also admitted into Harvard Business School. Our Indian American client who was our example in the second blog post of this series had a 650 GMAT and she was admitted into HBS, and many other top business schools as well. How can this be, you ask? When you take strategic actions that counteract the story that a low GMAT score or a low GPA is telling about you, you are able to significantly decrease the importance of your low GPA, low test score, of whatever else it is that you might be worried about in your profile. Those weaknesses no longer matter as much, and the AdCom can focus on your unique strengths. However, when you get this wrong and you don’t take contrary actions, you raise red flags about your application. You come across as a person who is not self-aware, who is unwilling to work on their weaknesses, or someone who thinks that if they just don’t mention the weaknesses, the admissions committee will somehow magically overlook them. Guess what? Not so. So what do we mean when we say take contrary action? It means to take an action in any and every part of your application or profile that tells the exact opposite of the weakness that you’re worried about. We’ll use our founder, Kaneisha, as an example. She was just a senior in college when she applied to Harvard for her business and policy degrees, and was extremely worried that the admissions committee might think she wasn’t mature enough to hold her own among the more experienced students. She therefore took contrary action to focus her extracurricular activities during her senior year on opportunities that required her to work on teams with the school administrators, who were people in their 40s, 50s, or even older. She successfully showed that she could be a valuable contributor to a team of people much more her senior. This eliminated any questions they might have had about her being intimidated by people who would be just two or three years older than her. Her age was no longer an issue, so she could focus on demonstrating why she was a great fit for Harvard. She did end up going to Harvard, and had an incredible experience, never letting her age, or any other perceived weakness, hold her back from reaching her full potential. We know that you can do this too. Because when you take contrary action you show the admissions committee that even though you may not have been able to ace a stressful three hour test, you can handle the rigor of the Ivy League classroom. They will know this because when you submit your application, you will have proactively completed other actions that prove you can hold your own in the fast paced atmosphere of Harvard or any other dream school you’re targeting. Please make sure to come back next Thursday for secret #5!