During a conversation with one of the (undergraduate) coops at work, we got to talking about grad school. I'm not out of the closet on going back to school with the people at work because it's well in the future and would adversely affect my career up to the point I decide to leave. Still, when talking, he said he was interested in getting an MBA sometime in the future, and I couldn't help but offer some advice. Graduating next year, I decided to let him in on the best kept secret of MBA admissions:
Apply while you're still in college.
Most college seniors don't really know what they want to do with their lives, which would make many discourage this as a foolhardy pursuit. The GMAT alone costs $250 for one try and could be compounded with multiple testing, or the multitudes of prep courses and books available to "boost your score". Still, I say, save up, study hard, and take the GMAT during the fall before you graduate.
Many schools waive or reduce their fee for college seniors, meaning that applying to five top-tier schools, which could regularly cost $1000 or more could end up costing less than half. Further, this could help your applications in the future, as many schools will even tell you what your weaknesses are if you're rejected, but only as a college student. For those of you in a non-traditional career, applying as a college senior, then applying again to the same schools a few years later will help show a commitment to business and a clarity of vision. For those of you in a more typical career path, it certainly couldn't hurt. Lastly, if you do get accepted as a college senior, you don't even have to go immediately. Many prominent offices of admission will offer deferred or postponed admission, meaning you could have a few years to find out what you want to do without the risk of not getting into grad school.
All in all, it's a pretty good deal. I wonder why more people don't do it.