I’m really not sure why applicants, year after year, continue with the perception that that is the case
In truth, your chances have a lot to do with whether or not the schools are convinced that you should be part of the class. It’s just like the ding letter from Stanford that says, it is about selection not evaluation.
It’s not about being good enough. It’s about being what they’re looking for – and outstanding.
So those low grades or GMAT are not necessarily a deal-breaker, however you need to bring something to the table that would be an offsetting entry for them.
Unique contribution. What would make them want you – in order to make the class complete?
A value proposition consists of two items – desirability and exclusivity. Something is more valuable if it is desirable, and also, if it is rare. Uncommon. Unrepeatable. This is your competitive advantage, and it’s worthwhile to take time to figure it out.
Beyond your profile, some of this has to do with the rest of the applicant pool. Again, selection rather than evaluation. It’s not “all about you.”
It would be something related to the unique perspective you offer, acquired through your experiences. What you have done in the community types of experiences that have developed your leadership and teamwork skills.
So sit with the question for a while. What sets you apart from other people with your profile? What would be a reason to select you out of a highly competitive pool?