This is the second in a brief, four part series about the different rounds in MBA and professional school admissions.
What is the normal round?
Typically there is a middle round or even multiple middle rounds in an application cycle. This is the “normal” round and typically carries no benefit or penalty for application during this period. Arguably you could say that being eligible for less financial aid is a penalty, and the subtle suggestion from admissions committees is the same. The enticement of additional financial support, even at schools with limited aid, is a big reason to submit applications in time to join the priority round and avoid being in the normal round. Having said that, this is typically the largest group of applications a school will receive. The amount varies, but it would not be uncommon to have 65-75% of all applications submitted in this period.
Applicants in the normal rounds will typically hear the results later than priority applicants and have less time to make commitments and plans to attend a program. There is less time to find housing, look for local employment, etc. when you apply in this round.