Applying to the 5th Year Program

If I'm being completely honest, one of the main reasons I enrolled at Clark was because I knew they offered a 5th year accelerated MBA program. I had no idea what I wanted to do, or what I wanted to study, but I knew that if I could get into the program for free, I shouldn't pass it up. Fast forward 4 years, and I'm now finishing up my senior year of college and am starting my graduate studies. Although I've only been provisionally accepted (you don't officially get accepted until you finish your second semester of senior year), I thought I would offer some insight that I wish I had known! Disclaimer: this is based on my experience with the MBA program specifically, and the requirements might differ between programs.

  • Start your essay now: The May 1st application deadline might seem a ways away, but it will creep up a lot sooner than you realize. It can be hard to add "write 5th year essay" to your to-do list that already seems impossible to complete, but if you work on it slowly and bit by bit it will be much easier to manage. After all, this essay is affecting your future so remember not to treat like an assignment for a class you don't care for. If you're a current sophomore, consider writing your essay (or at least a draft of it) over the summer before entering your junior year. That way you won't have to worry about it, and all you have to do is proofread and edit it every now and again. 
  • Visit the Writing Center: I was extremely unsure about the quality my essay, so it was very reassuring and helpful to have someone look at it with fresh eyes and tell you their take on it. After re-reading it so many times, you might have also become blind to any typos that would be more apparent to someone reading it for the first time. 
  • Get help from Career Services: As of this year, students applying to the MBA program will be required to complete and informational interview. If you've never gone through an interview, or just want practice, you can schedule an appointment with Career Services who will gladly run you through a mock interview. 
  • Attend all informational sessions: I made the mistake of never going to any of the informational sessions, so I never fully understood the GPA requirement, or the internship credit requirement for the MBA program. Although juniors are strongly encouraged to attend these sessions, you can never be too informed - so don't feel weird about showing up as a freshman or sophomore. 
  • Get to know the program directors: For each program, there is a different program director and it can be really helpful to get to know them so that they can know you by name. Graduate school is different from undergraduate in the sense that professors and directors will reach out to you less about deadlines, and expect you to be the one taking action. Get used to emailing your program director pretty frequently, because you will have more questions for them than you think you will! 
  • Know the requirements: For the MBA program, the required cumulative GPA (excluding your freshman year grades) is 3.4 to be accepted provisionally. What a lot of my peers didn't realize, though, was that they also needed to maintain a 3.4 during their senior year. Because the requirements vary by program, be sure that you know specifically what all the different requirements are, including requirements that you need to complete between your senior year and your 5th year.