Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred Enrollment Program

An overview of the deferred enrollment MBA program at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business including who Booth is looking for, eligibility info, application details, and more.

Posted August 23, 2023

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What is the Booth Scholars Program?

The Booth Scholars Program is the deferred enrollment MBA at the University of Chicago. Students apply during their senior year of undergraduate studies and are then able to defer admission for two to five years in order to gain professional work experience. This allows them to explore a wide variety of career options and take risks without having to worry about the MBA application process. If, after deferring, students find a job that they don’t want to leave, they also have the opportunity to enroll in the part-time program so they can continue to work.

During the deferment period, admitted applicants will have access to all of Booth’s resources and events, special programming specifically for deferred students, and the vast network of Booth alumni.

Booth is one of the top business schools in the country and the MBA program is world-renowned. Watch this video to learn what makes Booth, Booth.

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The eligibility standards at Booth are similar to those of other deferred MBA programs. Students that are applying must be in their final year of college or in the final year of another advanced degree program that they began immediately after undergraduate studies. In order to apply for the application round of the next year, the student must be graduating between October and September of the previous year.

In order to apply, there are several items the student must have prepared. These include unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, two recommendation letters, a resume, GRE/GMAT scores, and several short answers and essay questions. For international students who did not go to an English-taught undergraduate institution, an English proficiency test is also required and they accept the TOEFL, PTE, and IELTS scores.

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Who is Booth Looking For?

The Booth admissions committee is interested in applicants from all undergraduate institutions, undergraduate majors, and from diverse backgrounds and interests. They want their students to be intellectually curious and have maturity, competitive scores, and leadership skills. While deferred applicants don’t have full-time work experience, Booth does look for its applicants to have substantive internships, part-time jobs, or entrepreneurial spirit.

The student profile for the deferred class of 2020 had a GMAT range of 640-780 and an average GPA of 3.28-4.00. There were admitted applicants from 18 countries and 38 different undergraduate institutions. The most common pre-Booth industries were consulting, education, government, health care, nonprofits, sports/recreation, and technology.

Why Should I Apply for Deferred Admission?

According to the University of Chicago Booth website, there are 5 main reasons why undergraduate students should apply for deferred admission. Reflect on these while deciding whether to apply for direct versus different enrollment. Each student has a unique background and career goals that will influence whether or not a deferred program would suit them better than a traditional path.

1. Apply Now, Stress Less Later

Arguably the greatest benefit of deferred admission programs is that you can complete your application before entering the full-time workforce and while you are still a student. Then, after admittance, you are able to fully focus on your professional and personal experiences after college without needing to stress about the application process later. This means that it may be easier to get recommendation letters, write essays, and take the standardized tests because you will still be in “student mode.”

2. Professional Flexibility

Because the deferred timeline is flexible, students can decide when is the right time for them to pursue the MBA. If there was an unexpected promotion, new exciting job opportunity, or important life event, it won’t get in the way of the MBA journey.

3. Access to an Expansive Professional Network

Admitted Booth scholars gain access to a wide variety of Booth resources during their deferment period, including the Booth student and alumni network. Booth hosts regular networking events throughout each year to give Booth Scholars and other students the opportunity to connect with peers and meet future classmates.

4. Professional Development Opportunities

In addition to accessing Booth’s network, the school also offers quarterly professional development opportunities, both in-person and virtually. While pursuing full-time work experience, Booth scholars can learn about the curriculum options, how to navigate difficult work relationships, and how to grow in their professional roles.

5. Freedom in your Career Path

As Booth Scholars have already earned their spot in a future MBA class, admitted students can fully focus on pursuing their career goals and passions without worrying that they are following “the right path.” Some students want to expand their skill-set and explore different industries while others use the time to grow in their current roles.

Read our full Chicago Booth guide for an in-depth dive into the MBA program: Chicago Booth—MBA Program and Application Overview.

Application Details

The next application deadline for the Chicago Booth Scholars Program is April 4, 2024, and the $250 application fee is waived. Interviews will take place in April and May and admitted students will be notified on June 13, 2024. Read more about the new deadlines here: Chicago Booth MBA Application Deadlines (2023-2024)

The Booth Admissions Committee approaches applications from a holistic perspective and they highly value diversity in their applicants. Admitted students are required to maintain a full-time employment status throughout the deferral period and to make professional progress. Because of this, students must submit an annual form with updated employment information for each year during the deferment. Booth Scholars are also required to pay several non-refundable deposits that will go towards the full-time tuition.

Where Can I Start?

Applying to any MBA program can be a stressful, time-consuming, and costly process. That is why here at Leland we have lots of resources available to help you along that journey.

Read these articles to start your deferred MBA journey:

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