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Avoiding 10 common mistakes on your application

With the Round 2 application deadline just a little over a month away (7 January 2009) I wanted to draw your attention to the Top Ten most frequent (and avoidable) mistakes we find on your applications:

--Enter your name correctly. In the application, you enter your family name (also called last name) before your first name (also called given name). Yes, smart people make this mistake.

--Provide a specific reason for leaving any of your previous jobs--as opposed to a reason for accepting your next job. In the application verification process over the summer, this is the cause of many issues.

--Submit your application only after your recommenders have submitted your Letters of Reference. Stanford's instructions may differ from some other schools in this regard, but your application processing works best when you follow our advice. Trust us on this.

--If your university provided A/B/C/D grades, calculate your grade point average on a four-point scale (A=4, A-=3.7, B+=3.3, B=3, C=2, D=1, etc.). Do this even if your university did not calculate the grade point average. This is the easiest math problem that you're likely to see in an MBA program.

--If there is any period of four-plus months when you were neither in school nor working, tell us what you were doing during that time.

--For Essay C (Options 1-4) discuss experiences that have occurred in the last three years. Work, community, or college experiences are terrific, as long as they took place within the last three years. Be sure to tell us the "how" and "why," not just the "what."

--If you can't get a recommendation from your current supervisor, provide a brief explanation (one or two sentences) in the Additional Information section of the Online Application.

--For your Letter of Reference from a peer please make sure the person you pick is indeed a peer (an equal). Though few people like hierarchy, our supervisors are not our peers. Even if your supervisor is your friend, he/she by definition is not your peer. While many peers also are friends, remember that not all friends are good choices for recommendations.

--Check your transcript after you scan/upload it. As a general rule, if you can't read it, we can't read it.

--When calculating your months of work experience, only include post-college work and provide the months (not the years) through September of the year in which you plan to enroll (not as of the date you're applying).

As always, if you have any questions please contact us.

Thank you and best wishes,
LaNeika Ward
Acting Assistant Director of MBA Admissions