I get many questions from applicants regarding the Columbia MBA Early Decision Admissions cycle.

If Columbia is one of your top options, you should absolutely apply via early decision . In general, applying early ( by the Early Decision or the 1st round deadline) the to any school is a good option, provided your GMAT is ready and your essays are a decent reflection of your profile. The admissions committee is human, after all – they all get tired of reading thousands of applications and letters of recommendation.  If you apply early in the year, you are going to be only the 900th engineer talking about a difficult project, or the 345th investment banking analyst discussing the challenge in working in a bulge bracket bank during the recent financial crisis. Also, you have a chance of being only the 567th applicant to talk about her desire to work in emerging markets after business school, or share her passion for non-profits and children’s education.

While each applicant is an individual, there are common themes in the application, and the opportunity to stand out is not a trivial advantage.  Applying early means joining a less-crowded field of competition, and potentially having a better chance of impressing the reader and gaining some allies on the admissions committee.

Not sure if you should apply for the Columbia Early Decision? Send your resume and questions to yael@admit1mba.com to schedule an initial consultation.