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How My MBA Application Experience Will Help Homeschoolers

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In 2003, I chose to leave the Army upon completion of my 5 year military commitment. I decided that my best option was to apply to business school, but most people ignorantly told me that I stood no chance of getting into my dream school, Stanford, or any other top school. It’s not that they didn’t necessarily think much of me (some of my superiors said these things and then wrote me wonderful recommendations); they just didn’t know any better. They didn’t know anyone who had gotten into any of the top business schools, and many simply assumed that it was not a realistic goal for anyone who didn’t graduate at the top of their class at West Point or an Ivy League school.  After conducting my own research, talking to former military officers who were already attending those schools, and poring over online and print resources, I knew that had a good chance of getting into at least one of the top programs.

Instead of diluting the quality of my applications by applying to a bunch of schools, I decided to put all of my time and effort into applying to only the top two business schools, Harvard and Stanford. These two schools have been ranked either #1 or #2 in 19 of the 22 annual U.S. News & World Report business school rankings, and neither has been ranked outside the top two since 1996. Stanford always has the lowest admissions rate and the highest average GMAT score (the SAT-like standardized test for business school admissions), while Harvard always has the highest yield. I knew I had to submit perfect applications to get in. I studied diligently for the GMAT, I worked with my recommenders to ensure that they properly articulated my contributions to the organization and spoke to my personal attributes, and I slaved away over the essays to make sure that every single word added value and portrayed me in the proper light. I was fortunate enough to get into Stanford, and subsequently withdrew my application to Harvard.

Since 2003, I have also helped a number of my friends and family, and friends of friends and family, get into these same schools. As a group, those that I have helped have a collective acceptance rate which greatly exceeds the acceptance rate of the general applicant pool at each school (see below). Meanwhile, the people I have helped have had a lower average GMAT and GPA than the entering class at any of these schools, including one person with a GMAT score 100 points lower than the median at Stanford, and several people with GPA scores nearly a point below the average at either school. Simply put, I know how to get people into these schools.

My success rate is as follows (school acceptance rate in parenthesis):
Harvard Business School: ~80% Acceptance Rate (vs. 12.2%)
Stanford Graduate School of Business: ~20% Acceptance Rate (vs. 06.5%)
Wharton School: ~50% Acceptance Rate (vs. 16.9%)
MIT Sloan: ~50% Acceptance Rate (vs. 14.2%)

What does this have to do with homeschooling? The steps that are necessary to get into the top graduate schools are very much like the steps necessary to get into top undergraduate programs. While there are certainly differences between the two, having volunteered and worked with the undergraduate admissions departments at both Stanford and West Point, I know what makes a candidate competitive and what places the rest in the rejection pile. I have applied to four schools in my academic career (West Point, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education) and have never been rejected. Part of this is luck and being in the right place at the right time, but it is also a function of understanding how best to navigate the admissions process of top schools. Buehler Education will use my experiences and expertise in admissions to help university-bound homeschoolers take their proper places at the best colleges and universities in the nation.

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