Reapplying? Here Are Answers to Common Questions


Applying to business school can be a confusing process for some MBA candidates. While schools post their admissions requirements on their websites, applicants may still wonder: “What are they really looking for?” 

That question is often even more confusing for reapplicants (candidates who applied but were not admitted in a prior year), especially when they do not receive feedback from the admissions team about why they were not admitted the first time. At Michigan Ross, the reason we do not provide feedback to students who are not admitted is to maintain a level playing field for all applicants in future years. 

However, that is not to say that we do not welcome reapplicants. In fact, it is quite the opposite. We have found that reapplicants’ focus and determination frequently gain them admission; they typically account for 5-10% of our incoming class. Then, while at Ross, we have seen them go on to perform well academically and are among our most active student leaders. 

To help clear up any confusion, here are responses to many of the most frequently asked questions we hear from reapplicants. 

Top three FAQs of reapplicants

How can reapplicants succeed the second time around? 

Self-reflection is key. Candidates who review their original application and shore up the area(s) that may have been less competitive in our applicant pool do well. They might have retaken a test, taken on or led a new project at work, clarified their career goals, or selected a recommender who could speak first-hand about their professional strengths. By the way, all of these actions are relevant for first-time applicants, too. 

Do I need to re-do the entire application?

Short answer: No, you do not. If you reapply within a year of your original application to Ross, you can submit an abridged application. Many reapplicants reuse their essays and recommendation letter from the previous year, which is fine. But reapplicants are welcome to submit all new materials as well. 

As part of our evaluation, we will look at your previous application and interview report to get an idea of what your candidacy looked like before, and how that compares to where you are now. But our focus will be on where you are now. 

If you’d like to apply with a test waiver, you will need to submit a request for a test waiver that can be applied to this year’s application. 

Should reapplicants apply in Round 1?

While many reapplicants aim to apply in Round 1, it is not a requirement or expectation. Some candidates may need more time to improve their test score, to wrap up a key project, or earn a promotion to highlight in their new application. The bottom line is, candidates should (re)apply when they feel their application will be strongest. 

The Ross Admissions team recently hosted a webinar with tips for reapplicants. They were joined by a couple of our MBA2s who were reapplicants. We encourage you to check it out to hear more advice on submitting a strong application as a reapplicant.