The last time I updated this blog I was smack in the middle of Round 2. I had completed my Booth interview, had just received an interview invite from Wharton, and was patiently waiting for the Stanny goat to eat my application (I shall explain shortly). The end of March and the admissions decisions it would bring seemed like a distant future that would never arrive. Alas, the world did not come to an end. Late March did arrive (and has since passed) and I've posted nary a word about how everything has panned out thus far.
For starters, I was denied without interview by Stanford. By the time it happened I knew it was coming so I wasn't all that devastated. After weeks of checking my email multiple times a day with the hope that an interview invite would appear, I read the writing on the wall by the second week in March. I will not lie and say that I wasn't hoping for that March 28 application status update to be a Waitlist decision, but I knew that chances were, as Jay-Z once said, "slimmer than that chick in Calvin Klein pants." The rejection stung a little bit, but like I said I knew it was coming. If I'm honest with myself I didn't put the effort into that application that I should have. My essays were rushed and I think I even skipped filling in some parts of the application (Diversity Scholarship essay and Part-time work experience). Also, Stanford was the only school I applied to that I never visited. While I was enamored of the Stanford I'd met via their website, I never got to know the school up close and personal so my emotional connections to my other schools were stronger. Besides, I always knew that no matter how good of an app I put together that Stanford would be a hail Mary application. The school is so selective and it's nearly impossible to predict who they will like and why. Stanford's admissions process is so mysterious my GMAT Club chat friends, AnotherTran and lala10, even came up with a theory that Stanford leaves the decision of who to interview up to a goat that they keep on the campus lawn. Yes, ladies and gentleman, there's a Stanny goat. Here's what happens. The admissions committee prints out and spreads all of the applications received in a given round onto the lawn. If the Stanny goat eats your application, then congrats you get an interview. If not, sorry for ya. I never had my heart set on going to Stanford so after some wailing at the Stanny goat for not eating my app I easily moved on. However, before I leave Stanford behind me forever I would like to dedicate a little song to the Stanny goat.
(to the tune of Rolling in the Deep)
We could've had it aaaaaaaaalllllllll
In Silicon Valleeeeeeyyyyyy
You had my app inside your mouth
But you chooooose not to eeeaaat
Alas, there was no need to dwell on the "ding" from Stanford because just the week before I had been admitted to Chicago Booth....with a SCHOLARSHIP!!! Can we say happiness? Yes we can. But things weren't always so happy. Booth's Round 2 decision day was March 21. However, it is well know that Booth likes to call and congratulate all of the admits the prior day, so really March 20 is the true decision day. I was perfectly fine going into that day. I had slept well the night before, my appetite was healthy, and my heart rate was slow and steady. Decision days are much less nerve wracking when you're already in somewhere else. But even with the Kellogg admit, I still wanted Booth and I wanted it badly. I'd been having a love affair with Booth since last summer and I wanted the chance to go there. Plus the Harper Center cafeteria is da BOMB! They serve chicken tikka masala and naan, FTW! Sorry, I digress. So like I said, I started the day really calm. I didn't even stay away from GMAT Club. My girls LadyRoadWarrior and mpg2011 were also waiting to hear from Booth so the chat room was a fun place. The first admissions calls were reported a little after 9a.m. EST. One by one people posted, "I got the call. I'm IIINNNNN!" And minute by minute my phone remained silent...until it wasn't. At around 11a.m. my phone range. My heart leaped and I lunged toward my cell phone. I checked the display screen anticipating the appearance of a Chicago area code, but was greeted with a 484 area code(Pennsylvania) in its place. It wasn't a saved number so I was unsure as to who could be calling me if it wasn't someone from Booth. Maybe one of the admissions committee members had a Philadelphia cell phone number? Wrong. It was my Big Brothers Big Sisters match specialist. "Hey Cheetarah! Is now a good time for a check-in?"
"Hell no this is not a good time. Don't you ever call me again!! EVER!!" Okay I didn't say this, but it took every ounce of self control I could muster not to say it. A word of advice, do NOT call a bschool applicant on decision day. They will hate you. They. Will. Hate. You. Moving on...so the morning passes with no phone calls from Booth. I wasn't really worried because I knew they make calls all day and it was hours before 5p.m. CST. I went to my car to take a nap during lunch (brought my phone with me just in case) and worked just fine through the early afternoon. However, around 2p.m. EST my stomach started to tighten a bit. People on the west coast were reporting calls and I hadn't heard a word. I checked in on GMAT Club chat and LadyRoadWarrior and mpg hadn't heard a thing either. We huddled together in a private chat room for moral support and as the minutes ticked by without a peep from Booth the kinks in our armors of calm began to let the crazy seep out. At 3:30 p.m. mpg said, "I can't believe that none of us have gotten the call. You would think at least one of us would get in." That's what I was thinking. While I felt good about my Booth application and interview I knew that nothing is guaranteed. Gaining admission to one school is mutually exclusive from getting into another one. However, I viewed the three of us as strong applicants each in our own unique way. I couldn't imagine that Booth didn't like any of us. We passed the time comforting ourselves with our previous admits (LRW was already in at Tuck and Ross, and mpg just got the call from Kellogg the previous day). LRW even made a definitive statement that we would all get in. It was just a matter of time. However, by 4:50 p.m. none of us had been called and we were all ready to admit defeat. Calls would likely come for another hour, but with such a small window there was little hope that three of those calls would be for us. By 5p.m. I could take the waiting no more. I had wanted to share the good news with the girls when it happened, but alas there would be no good news to share. I felt awful. Throughout the day posters in GC's Booth thread had wished me luck. In the mid afternoon hello212 even said he knew calls weren't over because I hadn't gotten mine yet. It was really great to see strangers who had become comrades have so much faith in me, so it made not receiving a call that much worse. I packed up my laptop and went home to wallow in defeat. I knew I would get over it, but it still sucked. Driving home I kept my cell near me just in case, but turned up the radio to drown out the silence of it not ringing. Then at 5:11 p.m. right under the sounds of today's hottest hip-hop and R&B I heard a ringing. I looked down to see a 773 area code (Chicago land) flashing across my screen. I can only describe the 5 minute conversation with Bryce Kirchhausen, Chicago Booth admissions director, as an incoherent mess (all on my part). He said something about congratulating me and I said, "AAAHHAWWAHAHAHAWEHAHAHAH," or something to that effect. I think he tried to talk to me about my application but my gibberish prevented that. He mentioned admitted students weekend and I may have grunted in response. However, I did manage to form two intelligible words when he told me that I would be awarded a generous merit scholarship. From that point on all I could say was, "thank you." To go from accepting rejection to a scholarship is one wild emotional swing and I couldn't have been more grateful or happy to experience it. And as an extra special super duper bonus I arrived home and learned that both mpg and LadyRoadWarrior got their calls from Booth right around the same time I was getting mine. #TeamGirls
Thankfully, Wharton's decision day was much less of an emotional rollercoaster. Wharton's d-day came just two days after the Stanford rejection. While getting rejected from one school can often dampen confidence for another school's decision I was pretty much able to separate the two. I definitely started the day more nervous than I had Booth's day, not because of Stanford but because Wharton is selective as all get out and a good interview does not an admit make. I knew that Wharton calls would start early so I was pretty on edge from the moment I woke up. Wharton decision day is a tricky little beast because not receiving a phone call doesn't mean that you weren't admitted. An applicant doesn't really know their fate until the application status updates (if they weren't called first). I contemplated skipping work, curling up in the fetal position, and rocking back and forth while waiting for the decision. Alas, I had meetings to attend so to work I went. After careful research (I read through the R1 decision day posts on GMAT Club's Wharton applicants thread) I figured that calls would likely be concentrated in the morning and the online status update would come between 1p.m. and 2p.m. Since my homie lala10 had received her Wharton call at about 9:30 a.m. EST in R1, I was hopeful that I too would be put out of my misery early as well. The 9 o'clock hour passed without a phone call from Wharton, but luckily the 10 o'clock hour did not. At 10:26 a.m. I received a call from Tiffany Gooden, Wharton associate admissions director, welcoming me to the class of 2014. I may have been slightly more coherent during my conversation with Tiffany than I was during the previous week's call with Bryce...but not by much. I stuck to my faithful standby, "thank you!" The official status update around 3:30 p.m. brought the pleasant surprise of a Wharton fellowship too.
So that's how my application season played out. I applied to four awesome schools and was admitted to three of them. I am beyond shocked and amazed by all of it. When I started the application process last summer I didn't even know if I could get into one school. I thought I was too old, my GPA was too low, and that my career hadn't gone far enough. When I applied I was just hoping to get in somewhere. When I would read about the schools' scholarships and fellowships they always seemed meant for other people. People with higher GMAT scores and better GPAs who had been promoted every 6 months for the last 3 years. To get two scholarship/fellowship offers is more than I could have asked for or imagined. Now comes the difficult part: making a decision. I know, I know...it's a great problem to have and there are a lot of people who wish they had even one school to "choose." But this is tough for me. I like Kellogg, Booth, and Wharton for very different reasons and I can't figure out which reasons matter more. I contemplated going to all three schools but was told by several people that that's not possible. So someone please tell me how do I choose?