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Cornell’s Johnson School waives GMAT & GRE for Admissions

Following the onset of the pandemic, Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management waived the GMAT and GRE exams. The school has recently added the waiver policy in its website, thus joining the top 25 MBA programs in the U. S. 

The new admission norms are applicable to all the three full-time residential programs hosted at Johnson; two-year MBA program and one-year accelerated MBA program at Ithaca, New York and the Cornell Tech MBA at New York City. 

However, the school has clearly stated that the applicants may request a waiver “without negative bias.” The two-year MBA program offered at Johnson is ranked 12th best in the U.S. By Poets&Quants. The institute now joins MIT Solan, UVA Darden, Michigan Ross, Carnegie Mellon Tepper, UNC Kenan-Flagler and several others in providing the applicants the alternative of avoiding the test if they satisfy certain conditions. 

The admissions statement casts a doubt on the merit of the standardized tests that are currently vital in gaining entry in many of the prominent institutions. Some of the admission directors also raise the concern over the set of students admitted following an admission test, that ideally restricts the diversity in the class of students. This makes a candidate’s success less predictive than other admission materials from their undergraduate grades and the interview process. 

“In response to continued hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we continue to debate the value of a GMAT/GRE score as a predictor of future academic and career success, Cornell Johnson is offering candidates of the Full-Time MBA 2020-2021 application cycle the ability to request a GMAT/GRE test waiver, without negative bias,” states the Johnson’s website. 

For any of the applicants to benefit a waiver, they must submit a 100-word statement explaining their “personal circumstances” along with “a clear and compelling argument” for why are they suited to the Johnson’s rigorous academic demands. The school experts will then decide on all the waiver requests in a span of 7 to 10 days. The deadline for such requests is February 25th for the school’s March 8th deadline and March 29th for its April 8th deadline. “You may continue working on the rest of your application as we process your decision, so we encourage you to request a waiver as one of the first steps in the application process,” according to Johnson.

Johnson stands that a waiver will not be a disadvantage to any of the applicants, for admission or scholarship awards alike; stating that each application will be considered and reviewed holistically. However, the institute advises the aspirants to take the GMAT/GRE to enhance their application for internship and full-time recruiting programs. 

Overall, out of the top 100 business schools, 66 have opted for the fully test-optional choice or are actively encouraging test waiver policies. The MBA admission officials are now considering other parts of candidates’ application besides the standardised test to assure that an applicant is suitable to the academic demands offered at the respective institutions.

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