If you are one of the business school candidates who was driven enough to apply in Round 1, then it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back. Though you might be wondering what you’re supposed to do now. Here are a few ways to keep yourself productively occupied:

Move on to Round 2

Keep moving forward and begin working on the next round of applications. Taking advantage of this extra time will allow you to really think through each question, work slowly, and avoid the last minute scramble. Worst case, you are accepted into your first round schools and don’t ever have to submit them.  Yet if there’s one thing we learned in business school, it’s the benefit of preserving option value. And you will not have enough time to wait for first round results and then develop a polished set of second round applications. Keep your options open, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

Learn From the Past

Year after year, applicants pull the plug last minute on submitting their applications in Round 1 because they hadn’t “nailed it” quite yet–either because they were struggling with a particularly tough question, or because they were overly-optimistic in the time involved to develop a strong, polished application. Use those lessons to get a jump start on what lies ahead.  This is the resounding advice our past clients wanted to share with future applicants: start early, because it takes longer than you expect.  With that, begin right now on Round 2, and aim to be done well before deadlines.  Just think how good it will feel to be truly relaxing over the holidays, while other applicants continue to trudge away!

Prepare for Interviews

This is a good time to begin preparation for your potential interviews. Gather questions online, work through your responses, practice in the mirror or on video, and hold mock interviews conducted by friends (or us). Watch out for gestures or facial expressions that are distracting and work on eliminating them. Practice responding in a confident tone, with clear and concise answers that sound natural and passionate.

Keep Shining

This isn’t the time to come down with a case of “senioritis.” Continue building success stories in both your professional and extracurricular life by pursuing new stretch assignments, proposing new ideas or initiatives, or stepping up to take charge of a new project. These experiences will give you fodder for future interviews, Round 2 applications, or (heaven forbid) waitlist updates. Admissions committees love to see a track record of growing accomplishments and responsibilities, and these efforts could push you over the edge versus other candidates.

Above all, stay positive and do your best to rest comfortably in the unknown. Leave your Round 1 submissions in the hands of your admissions committees (don’t contact them to check in, don’t ask to submit a new version because you caught a minor typo…) As they say, ignorance is bliss.

[For help with Round 2 MBA applications, or for general MBA admissions advice, please contact us at info@shineadmissions.com]

© Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, October 6, 2015, 12:19pm PT