Impact of a Lower-Than-Ideal TOEFL or AWA Score

Posted By SWatts on Dec 22, 2013 | 0 comments

From The Staff of MBA

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Impact of a Lower-Than-Ideal TOEFL or AWA Score

Some candidates, particularly those who did not attend college where English was the primary medium of instruction, are concerned about the influence a low TOEFL or AWA score will have on their admissions outcomes. A lower-than-ideal TOEFL or AWA score can certainly have a negative impact. For example, if your GMAT score was very lopsided and you were much stronger in quant than in verbal, and you also have a low TOEFL, the admissions committee may become concerned that you will not be able to communicate adequately with your peers. Admissions committees want to admit you not only for what you will gain from the experience, but also because of what you can give. It won’t matter if you have profoundly unique insights and creative ideas if you are unable to communicate those insights and ideas to your peers. In many cases, to maximize your odds of admission you should try to improve low TOEFL and AWA scores.

Candidates frequently ask me whether there are instances when a candidate can still get into a top MBA program in the United States and Europe with a low TOEFL or AWA score. Yes, of course. I have worked with candidates who had poor TOEFL or AWA scores, but were such attractive candidates that they were accepted at schools including Harvard and Wharton. In one example, an East Asian foreign national I worked with had poor English skills and a relatively low TOEFL score. He had terrific work experience at a Fortune 10 multinational company, however, and his business experience was a great asset. We at MBA worked with him extensively and he was able to highlight through his application the many tremendous strengths of his candidacy. As a result, he gained admission to Harvard Business School. Upon acceptance, Harvard asked him to enroll in an English program before beginning, which he happily did before completing the MBA program successfully.

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