For many prospective students thinking about applying for the Simmons School of Management Spring 2014 start, there is a question of just how feasible it would be. With the month of October coming to an end and the deadline of December first not too far in the distance, the window of opportunity is growing smaller and smaller as each day passes. From someone who has been in this exact situation, IT IS POSSIBLE!
I found out about the HCMBA program last November during a monthly meeting of the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners (AMMP) on the MGH campus. The announcement was made about the new program offering and my interest was piqued immediately. I had been contemplating going back to school for several months. I had done extensive research about the different program offerings, gone on informational admissions interviews, and attended information sessions for other HealthCare Administration programs in the area. When I looked into the Simmons HCMBA I knew it would be a great fit and decided that I was going to go for it. After making that decision I had to face the reality of the time crunch, and this is how I did it.
Informational Interview- My first step was to meet one on one with an admissions counselor on the Simmons campus. While I had attended a larger information session, I wanted the chance to have a personal conversation with someone who was close to the process. This was a great opportunity for me to ask very specific questions about the program. I was also able to be open and honest about my concerns and what I saw as my areas of weakness as an applicant. I got great feedback and left the meeting feeling confident about what my next steps would be.
Gather Application Components- Once I knew I was going to apply I started the process of collecting the different components of the application. I found it helpful to create a checklist so that I could work through it and celebrate the small wins of getting items checked off. Right after my informational interview with admissions I put in the request for my undergraduate transcripts and scheduled time to speak with my three recommenders. I also started brainstorming topics for my essays and dusted off my resume to begin the updating process. I set aside time every day to work on my application essays and was lucky enough to have a colleague that offered to help me with the proof reading process. Once I had the foundation for my essays in place, I then fixed my sights on the test.
Getting Ready for the Test- I can't imagine that there are many people that enjoy taking standardized tests. I know personally that this time last year I was dreading the thought. I had been out of undergrad for quite some time and I had real anxiety about how much of the information on the test I would be able to remember. Prior to learning about the Simmons program I had been shopping for programs that did not require an exam for exactly this reason. But being faced with this requirement I had no choice but to get over it and come to terms with this necessary evil. I did not know much about either of the test formats, and as a result I was not sure which test I wanted to take. I did some basic research on the sitting fees, the policies regarding retakes, and the composition of both and ended up deciding on the GRE. I scheduled my test for November 30th, giving me about three weeks to prepare. I had no real strategy when I started, but I was able to come up with a system that worked. I went to the library and got a GRE prep book, I utilized the program that comes with the GRE registration to take practice quizzes online, and I downloaded an app that had the top 2000 vocabulary words and definitions to review in my free time during my commute to and from work. I immersed myself in the test preparation and studied during any free time I had available. By the time test day arrived I was ready.
While functioning under the time crunch to get all of the application requirements submitted is not the ideal, I can honestly say that it is possible. If you are thinking about applying for spring semester and the short time frame is your main area of uncertainty, my recommendation to you is to go for it!