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When Kellogg admissions officers review an application, they evaluate potential students based on six categories. Here, Beth Tidmarsh, director of admissions for Kellogg’s full-time MBA programs, demystifies what happens once you submit your materials and helps you think about how to formulate the story that will help the admissions team learn more about you. 


ADDITIONAL TOPICS: Work experience, Professional goals, Leadership, Impact, Interpersonal skills

Our goal is to be sure you can handle the rigor in the Kellogg classroom. Your undergraduate GPA, course selection and GMAT score help us assess your readiness. But we’re also invested in finding creative thinkers who can solve problems. Qualitative evidence of intellectual ability is going to come out in your essays, your interview and your recommendations. We truly take a holistic look at our applicants rather than relying only on a number.

Hard numbers like GPA and GMAT scores may seem like make-or-break factors, but one great test score doesn’t tell us nearly as much as seeing that you’ve taken challenging classes or broadened your knowledge base. And because each applicant is an individual, we recognize that someone with a liberal arts background may have different results than someone from an engineering background, but both could be wonderful candidates.

We look for applicants who are well-rounded, and who have demonstrated academic success. If your scores or grades seem a little lopsided, we dig deeper into your application to look for evidence that you’ve taken steps to develop those skills. That tells us if you’ve taken charge of balancing out your skill set. If you feel any of your grades or scores require further explanation or context, please feel free to include that information. Standardized test scores are also valid for five years, and we accept both the GMAT and the GRE for the One-Year, Two-Year, and MMM Programs. (JDMBA applicants can only submit a GMAT score.)

Read Beth Tidmarsh’s previous series on “Tips for applying to Kellogg”