HBS published some more application tips on their admissions blog, this time regarding Extracurriculars and Awards, Tests and Transcripts:
“What are you involved in outside of work? What impact did these activities have on you, and what impact did you have through these activities? Sometimes future applicants wonder what activities they should participate in so they will “look good” when they apply. While I understand this means they are really interested in HBS, this approach to extracurriculars doesn’t usually help an application.
Besides, there is no one extracurricular experience that we look for—we want to build a class of diverse and authentic leaders.
Of course, we recognize that many of you are very busy with work and/or family commitments. We give you space to list three extracurricular activities, but don’t worry if you don’t have three to list; better to have 1-2 that are really meaningful to you. And, yes, totally fine to list extracurriculars from college too.”
“This section should be pretty straightforward. We give you the chance to list three awards from any part of your life. You’ll have a small bit of space (200 characters) to give us more detail on how you were chosen for the award or honor (the “basis of selection”). Again choose the awards that are most meaningful to you personally.”
“One of the biggest misconceptions about applying to HBS is that admissions decisions are based largely on your GMAT or GRE score. That is not how it works. We consider every element of your application to get to know you as a whole person, and we know that you are more than a standardized test score!
We are agnostic about the GMAT or the GRE—really. (Really!) Take whichever one suits you best. In the admitted Class of 2019, 12% of students submitted the GRE. In the incoming Class of 2020, 14% of students submitted the GRE.
You can see from the Class Profile that we admit students with a wide range of standardized test scores. While a higher score will never hurt you, it’s not a guarantee to be admitted either. And some of the admitted students who have the biggest impact while at HBS and beyond didn’t have the highest test scores. We’re looking to craft a Class of diverse thinkers and leaders who will make a difference in the world, and that goes well beyond a test score. We always keep that in mind as we get to know you through the whole application and make our decisions.”
“To get at academic readiness, we also look to your transcripts, GPA, letters of recommendation, and the rigor of your work experience. The transcripts should be one of the easiest parts of the application since your undergrad degree is already behind you by the time you apply. Just upload your unofficial transcript (no need to convert or translate anything), and we’ll take it from there. We look through your classes, major(s), grades, and your journey through your degree(s).”