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Applying to Darden

MBA - Admissions - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Darden is committed to maintaining a thorough and fair admissions process for all applicants. In this section, you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions. Don't see your question here? Email us or schedule a conversation to connect with a member of our Admissions Committee.

 

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FAQ about the Darden MBA format and application process are sorted into the following categories:

  • General

    What MBA formats does Darden offer?

     

    How can I learn more about the Darden MBA?

     

    What dual degree programs does Darden offer?

    • MBA/MSDS
    • MBA/JD
    • MBA/MD
    • MBA/MPH
    • MBA/MEd
    • MBA/ME
    • MBA/MA in Government or Foreign Affairs
    • MBA/MA in East Asian Studies
    • MBA/Ph.D.
    • MBA/SAIS MA
    • MBA/MPP

    Visit Dual Degrees for more information.

     

    Can I begin the MBA in the spring?

    Darden offers only fall admission.

     

    Can I apply to Darden if I already have an MBA?

    The Darden School of Business does not admit students who have already completed an MBA from an AACSB accredited institution. To find out if a school is accredited by AACSB, please refer to the AACSB website.

     

    Does Darden accept transfer credits?

    No. Darden does not accept transfer credits.

     

    If I am offered admission, can I defer my enrollment?

    Please apply to Darden in the year before you wish to enter the program. Deferral requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but have only recently been granted for reasons related to military service or health issues. College seniors who have also been accepted into Teach for America’s program may defer admission until after their two years of service. In addition, some college seniors and recent college graduates may be offered deferred admission to attend in a subsequent year.

     

    Is it possible to work part time while enrolled in the full-time MBA?

    The MBA is in fact a full-time format. During the First Year, students begin their days with 8 a.m. classes and end their days in the evening with learning team meetings. Hours that are not scheduled are typically used for club meetings, recruiting and case preparation. The schedule does not leave enough time to work a part-time job. If you are interested in a more flexible format that allows you to work while attending classes, please explore Darden's Executive MBA Formats.

     

    What global opportunities does Darden offer?

    The Darden School connects with approximately 80 countries each year through academic programs, consulting programs and visits, and students are expected to have at least one global experience during their time here. For more information, please visit our Global Opportunities page.

     

      What organizations and resources are available for women and/or underrepresented minorities?

       

      Are there special resources for the military?

      Yes, please visit the Darden Military and Darden Military Association websites.

       

      Does Darden have research centers?

      Yes, Darden is home to the following research centers, each concerned with a unique aspect of the business world:

    • Application

      What are the application requirements?

      Visit Application Guidelines.

       

      When should I apply, and what are the application deadlines?

      Offers of admission are based on merit. There is no evaluative advantage to applying in an earlier deadline. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, however, it is best to apply by the earliest deadline possible. Visit Financial Aid and Application Deadlines to learn more.

       

      How do you assess candidates for the Darden MBA?

      A minimum of three members of the Admissions Committee will review and evaluate your application based on three broad areas: academics, professional experience and personal qualities and characteristics. A balance in the three areas is valued, but there is no formula that ensures admission. Darden does not have any specific prerequisites, but accounting and statistics are recommended before matriculation. Visit Admissions Guidelines for further details.

       

      What are the minimum requirements for the GMAT, GRE and GPA?

      Darden has no minimum requirements for the GMAT, GRE or GPA. If you take the GMAT or GRE multiple times, Darden will consider your highest total score when evaluating your application — we do not combine scores. For more information, view the Class Profile.

       

      My undergraduate college does not grade students with the GPA system, but with the percentage system. Should I leave the min and max GPA range on the application blank?

      If your undergraduate institution does not use a GPA, then please leave that field on the application blank. We can see from your transcript more about the grading system used.

       

      I do not have an undergraduate business degree nor do I work in a "business" functional area. Am I eligible for admission?

      Yes, typically fewer than 50% of our students were undergraduate business or economics majors. Darden students come from a variety of settings, including non-profit, government, entrepreneurial/start-ups as well as traditional business settings. To find out more about our entering class, visit the MBA Class Profile.

       

      My official test scores and transcripts will not reach Darden in time for the deadline. Will my application still be considered for that deadline?

      We do not require official test scores and transcripts in order to process your application and get it to the committee for review. In the education section of the application, please enter the data requested and upload unofficial copies of all transcripts. If offered admission, you will need to send official documents. If you choose to send official documents in lieu of self-reporting on the online application, they must arrive in our office by the application deadline. For international students, attested transcript copies are considered official.

       

      How much work experience do I need?

      Although we have no minimum requirements, the average is four years and the range is usually one to ten years.

       

      Do internships and cooperative education count as work experience?

      They may be considered valuable experiences, but should not be counted as full-time work experience.

       

      Can I fax, mail or e-mail in my recommendations and/or transcripts?

      Yes, but they must arrive in our office by the deadline:

      Mailing Address: 
      Darden School Admissions 
      100 Darden Blvd 
      Charlottesville, VA 22903

      Fax: +1-434-243-5033

      Email: [email protected]

       

      Can I get supplemental recommendations?

      Yes, but use discretion. Please limit supplemental recommendations to those individuals who can supply additional insight into your experience.

       

      How will I know if Darden has received my recommendations?

      Our online application is designed to allow your recommenders to submit their recommendations electronically. Once the recommendation has been submitted, you will receive a notification email.

       

      What if there isn't enough space for me to enter my information in some of the data fields, for example in responses to essay questions?

      Some fields are deliberately restricted. With regard to the essay, applicants should respond to the essay question within the stated limit.

       

      May I request an application fee waiver?

      The following are eligible for application fee waivers:

      • Teach for America corps members and alumni (Code: 10029)
      • Peace Corps volunteers (Code: 10039)
      • Education Pioneers fellows  (Code: 10049)
      • Forté MBALaunch members (Code: 10059)
      • Current undergraduate students (Code: 10069)
      • U.S. military members (Code: 10019)
      • African citizens living in Africa (Code: 10089)
      • Citizens of countries on the UN's list of least developed countries also qualify for an application fee waiver (Code: 10089)

      If you qualify for a waiver, please use the appropriate code when prompted in the application. If you have further questions, please email us at [email protected]. Additionally, Darden may offer an application fee waiver to attendees who attend specific events. We will specify if the event qualifies for a fee waiver in advance and provide the code to all attendees after the event.

       

      If I applied before and was denied, offered or waitlisted, can I reapply next year?

      Yes, all re-applicants need to submit a new application and check the box in the application that indicates you have previously applied. The committee will review your previous application along with your current one. If you applied one year ago, you are required to submit only one recommendation from an individual who can speak to your professional and personal development since your last application. If you applied two or more years ago, you will need to submit two recommendations.

       

      What are the application procedures for Darden's dual degree programs?

      You will need to apply and gain admission to both Darden and the participating joint program. Visit Dual Degrees for more information.

       

      If I am applying for a dual degree program, will you accept my LSAT or MCAT score?

      Yes, if you are applying for the JD/MBA or MD/MBA, we will accept your LSAT or MCAT score, respectively. Please visit Dual Degrees to learn more about applying to joint programs. If you are applying to EMBA or GEMBA, you can submit a LSAT or MCAT in lieu of a GMAT or GRE score.

       

      How does Darden maintain a fair admissions process?

      At Darden we do not tolerate conflicts of interest, and all UVA Darden personnel are prohibited from engaging in any outside employment or consulting which presents a conflict of interest with their duties (https://uvapolicy.virginia.edu/policy/HRM-025). Individuals with any ethical or other concerns in the admissions process are able to report such concerns by email so that they can be independently reviewed and investigated.

    • Standardized Tests

      What standardized tests does Darden accept?

      In our full-time MBA application process, we accept several standardized tests — GMAT, GRE, Executive Assessment (EA), MCAT and LSAT. 

      We also acknowledge that for select candidates, a standardized test may not be necessary. As a pilot for the 2020-21 application cycle (for the Class of 2023), we are pleased to announce a standardized test waiver request.

       

      If I have already taken the GMAT, should I take the GRE?

      No. You only need to take one of these exams. If you have taken the GMAT, we will have access to that score. Taking both tests will not give you an evaluative advantage. 

       

      My test score is about to expire. Will you still accept it?

      Standardized test scores must be valid as of the deadline date of the round in which you apply. GMAT and GRE scores are reportable for five (5) years following the test date, and standardized test scores are considered valid for the Darden admissions process if they fall within that five-year period. For example, scores for a test taken on September 2, 2019 are valid through September 1, 2024. 

       

      What is the Executive Assessment?

      The Executive Assessment is a 40-question, 90-minute exam, and it was designed in consultation with top Executive MBA programs. 

       

      Who should consider taking the Executive Assessment?

      Because the Executive Assessment was designed in consultation with top Executive MBA programs, it is generally recommended as a potential test option for candidates with five or more years of work experience, but we encourage candidates to choose the test that best aligns with their strengths and application plans. Candidates will also want to reflect upon their career interests as they evaluate their test options.

       

      How does Darden think about these tests and does Darden have a test preference?

      Standardized tests are just one piece of information in a broad, holistic application review process, and applicants are encouraged to choose the test that best aligns with their strengths, background and application plans. Our Admissions Committee has no test preference, and we view each of the tests we accept in our application process equivalently.

      For candidates who believe they can present a strong case for a standardized test waiver, we invite them to submit a test waiver request. However, before submitting a waiver request, we encourage candidates to reflect upon their overall applicant profile as well as the relevant criteria outlined below.

      Applicants will also want to consider career goals as they make their test plans. In business school, some employers may request a GMAT or GRE score as part of their screening process, particularly in industries like finance and consulting.

       

      Darden now offers a standardized test waiver. Who should consider submitting a test waiver? 

      For some candidates, particularly those who meet several of the criteria outlined below, a test score may not be needed for our Admissions Committee to assess their preparedness for Darden. 

      Waiver requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and our Admissions Committee will consider a number of factors when evaluating these requests. Particular regard will be given for indicators of academic and professional accomplishment, including but not limited to:

      • A strong undergraduate and/or graduate record, including performance in analytical coursework or disciplines
      • CPA or CFA designation or other professional certification
      • Master’s or advanced degree in an analytical discipline
      • Seven or more years of progressive, professional work experience in an analytical field
      • Strong performance on a U.S. college admissions test (SAT or ACT) or a national exam administered for admission to bachelor’s study in other countries

      These factors will be considered in combination with resume and transcripts for all degree-related coursework. Candidates who present a strong profile across several criteria (including supporting materials) are more likely to be granted a test waiver than candidates who meet only one criterion.

      Candidates who believe they may qualify for a test waiver on the basis of the above criteria should submit a test waiver request.

       

      Are there potential trade-offs to be considered before submitting a waiver request?

      There are several key considerations to be weighed before submitting a waiver request:

      Admissions. For most applicants, a test score is a way of strengthening their application, demonstrating their academic aptitude and providing our Admissions Committee additional, relevant data to consider in our evaluation process.

      Scholarship Review. A test score can be an additional data point for our Scholarship Committee to consider when evaluating an admitted student for a scholarship award.

      Career Goals. Some employers, particularly in industries like finance and consulting, may request a GMAT or GRE score as part of their screening process.

       

      I took a standardized test but do not think the score is reflective of my abilities. Should I still submit the score? 

      Unless granted a test waiver, applicants are required to submit all valid test scores (GMAT/GRE/EA/MCAT/LSAT) with their application. In instances of cancelled or expired test scores, candidates should note the test administration but are not required to report the overall score or score breakdown for those administrations.

      As a reminder, standardized tests are just one piece of information in a broad, holistic application review process. 

       

      When should I submit a request for a test waiver?

      Candidates may submit a waiver request at any time prior to submitting their application, and it is not necessary to have started an application to submit a test waiver request. We recommend applicants seeking a test waiver submit their request at least three to four weeks prior to their targeted deadline. 

      All waiver requests must be submitted and approved prior to the round deadline, and candidates who submit a waiver request are advised to wait to submit their full application until they have been notified about the outcome of their waiver request.

       

      Will I need to provide official documentation with my request?

      Official transcripts and test score reports are not required for purposes of our waiver request process. However, candidates will be asked to confirm that all provided information is accurate and correct prior to submitting the request form and all supporting materials. 

      For candidates granted a test waiver, in the event of a substantive discrepancy between their waiver request and their application materials, the test waiver will be voided. 

       

      How long will it take to receive a response to my waiver request?

      We will respond to requests within an average of 10-14 business days. 

       

      I received a test waiver. Do I need to submit a test score with my application? 

      No. Consistent with our goal of providing applicants greater flexibility in demonstrating their readiness for Darden, candidates who receive a test waiver are not required to submit a test score with their application materials.

       

      If I receive a test waiver, will any test scores that I previously shared with Darden be included in the review of my application?

      No. If a candidate receives a test waiver, our Admissions Committee will not consider any previously submitted test scores when reviewing their application. 

       

      What if I submit a waiver request but am ultimately not granted a waiver. Will this negatively affect my application?

      No. Being granted or denied a waiver is in no way indicative of a candidate’s competitiveness in the admissions process. 

       

      How long is a test waiver valid?

      Test waivers are valid for the application cycle in which they are granted. For example, a waiver requested for the 2020-21 application cycle is valid for that application cycle only and cannot be transferred to a subsequent application cycle. 

       

      If I plan to apply through the Consortium, will my Darden test waiver apply - therefore exempting me from the Consortium's test requirement?

      You are able to apply directly to the Consortium if you received a test waiver from Darden. One you receive that test waiver confirmation, please share that with the Consortium prior to the deadline so that they can process your application as ‘complete’ so that your application will be sent to Darden in a timely manner.

       

      Is the test waiver available if I intend to apply for 2020 Round 3 prior to the final 15 July deadline?

      No. The waiver request process begins for those applying with the 2020-21 application cycle. 

      2020 Round 3 expanded testing options: As a reminder, Darden accepts the GMAT, GRE, EA, LSAT and MCAT exams. If you have not taken one of these standardized tests, we encourage you to submit your SAT, ACT or country-specific university entrance exam. You can enter your SAT or ACT score in the application. If you took a country-specific university entrance exam (e.g., Gaokao), please include your score and any relevant notes in the Additional Comments section of the application.

    • International Applicants

      How can I learn about application information specific to international applicants?

      Visit International Applicant Information.

       

      Why is English proficiency required for applicants?

      Darden’s MBA format is built upon an immersive learning experience that requires public speaking, group discussion and active class participation. To succeed, students must possess a highly developed proficiency in written and oral English.

       

      How are English abilities assessed?

      Written and oral communication, as well as one of the following tests:

      • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test)
      • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
      • PTE (Pearson Test of English)
         

      Are international applicants required to take one of the approved English assessment tests listed above (even if I attended a school where the medium of instruction was English)?

      • Not Required: Candidates who received their bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was English are not required to take an English language assessment test (i.e., they are exempt).
      • Required: Candidates who received their bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was not English are required to take an English language assessment test.
      • Strongly Recommended: Candidates who received their bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was not English, but received a master's or PhD degree from a university where the medium of instruction was English are strongly encouraged to take an English language assessment test.

       

      What is the minimum acceptable TOEFL score? Do you keep scores submitted in prior years?

      We do not have a minimum requirement, but the average TOEFL is 106. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date.

       

      I earned an undergraduate degree that required only three years of study. Am I eligible to apply to Darden?

      Yes.

       

      If I am an international candidate, when should I apply?

      All applicants to Darden should apply in one of our four rounds. International applicants are encouraged to apply in earlier rounds such as Early Action, Round 1 or Round 2 but offers are still made to qualified international applicants in Round 3. You can review the application deadlines here.

       

      How can I contact students for my country/region of the world, and how can I learn more about the international community at Darden?

       

      Does Darden offer financial aid to international students?

      Yes. Scholarships are available to international students, some of which are specific to a region. Darden also has an international student loan program.

    • Visits & Interviews

      Due to the coronavirus, Darden has postponed all class visits and On-Grounds events for the foreseeable future. Visit our Events page for opportunities to virtually connect with the Darden community. All applicant interviews will be conducted remotely, via Zoom. 

       

      What can I do during my visit to Darden?

      The Visiting Darden website contains information on class visits and other recommended activities.

       

      What should I do if the website says that no class visit slots are available?

      Verify that you have filled out the class visit registration form. Please note that slots may be full for the day that you are looking at, and class visits are not available during exams, reading days, holidays or on days with planned programming at Darden.

       

      What are the best days to attend a class?

      Class visits are available Monday through Thursday while school is in session.

       

      How do I schedule a class visit?

      To schedule a class visit, you will first need to fill out a short registration form, and then schedule a visit from the available slots.

       

      May I bring a guest/partner to a class visit?

      Your partner (significant other) is welcome to join you on your visit to Darden. However, due to limited space, we kindly ask partners to refrain from attending the class visit.

      Visit the Darden Partners Association (DPA) website for information about the club and its activities, as well as contact information for current members. The DPA helps new members make a smooth transition to Charlottesville and business school life through hospitality, job networking, family resources, community service and social events. Parents should not join you for a class visit or interview.

       

      How do I cancel or reschedule my class visit?

      Please go back to the website and reschedule your appointment. If you are within 48 hours of your scheduled visit, please contact Jenna Wines at 800-UVA-MBA1 or +1-434-924-7281 or by email.

       

      Is an interview required?

      Interviews play a critical role in our assessment of candidates and are required prior to acceptance into the program. An invitation-only interview is conducted after your application has been submitted and reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

      Interview notification can take place at any time up until the decision release date for the deadline in which you have applied and may not necessarily fall during the designated interview periods. For important Admissions deadlines, visit Application Deadlines.

       

      What do I need to do to schedule a Consortium interview?

      The Consortium changed the interview policy starting with the 2011-2012 application season. A Consortium interview is no longer a component of the Consortium application. Darden Admissions will invite applicants to interview at Darden. Visit the Consortium Application Process page for more information.

    • Financial Aid

      What is the cost of the full-time MBA program?

      For the full cost of attendance, visit our Tuition & Expenses page.

       

      Who is considered for the merit scholarship?

      If admitted, students are also evaluated for merit-scholarships, which are competitively awarded based on a variety of metrics and considerations. Visit Scholarships for more information.

       

      What loan programs are available?

      • Federal Loans — The Federal Stafford Loan Program makes available $20,500 per year to each graduate student who is a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.
      • Supplementary Loans — Federal Graduate PLUS loan (for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents only).
      • International Student Loans

      Visit Financial Aid for more information.

       

      When will my loan funds be available?

      Semester rebate checks will arrive 10 business days following your completion of Final Registration, in mid-September and mid-January.

       

      Where can I find more information about financial aid?

      The Financial Aid website has information related to the estimated cost of tuition and paths to finance your MBA.

    • Student Life

      What is a typical day like for a first year student?

      • 8:00 a.m.–9:25 a.m. First Class
      • 9:25 a.m.–10:00 a.m. First Coffee
      • 10:00 a.m.–11:25 a.m. Second Class
      • 11:25 a.m.–11:45 a.m. Break
      • 11:45 a.m.–1:10 p.m. Third Class
      • 1:10 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Lunch, school events/activities, meetings, company briefings, etc.
      • 7:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Learning Team (this is the typical meeting period; times vary by team)

       

      Where can I learn more about your employment statistics and companies that recruit at Darden?

       

      What resources are available for my partner to find employment and to learn more about Charlottesville?

      Visit the Darden Partners Association website.

       

      Where can I find out more information about housing?

      View Student Housing Options.