The Ivy Coach Daily

October 27, 2021

College Admissions Nutrition

We can’t offer a quick fix to deferred or denied applicants who first come to us in mid-December of their senior year. But we can offer some nutrients.

When students who did not work with our firm come to us in mid-December after being deferred or denied admission to their Early Decision / Early Action school(s), we conduct what we call a Postmortem Strategy Session. And that word is apropos. After all, we do not sugarcoat at Ivy Coach as we don’t believe in sugarcoating one bit. We do not tell students and their parents what they want to hear just to make them feel better, to assuage their fears. We’d rather they hear the cold, hard truth from us rather than hear the cold, hard truth from colleges when they don’t earn admission in Regular Decision. Sometimes, it can be a tough pill to swallow.

It’s not as though many of these students didn’t have help. All of these students who come to us in mid-December had high school counselors. The vast majority worked with private college counselors. Like in any professional field, most of the so-called college admissions experts aren’t very good. Most are average. Some are below-average. We see their work every year around the holidays. Maybe a student was’t enrolled in foreign language as a senior or thought AP Statistics counted as math (it doesn’t). Maybe a student didn’t submit an SAT or ACT score because they were under the impression applicants are at no disadvantage for not submitting scores (of course they’re at a disadvantage!). Maybe a student chose not to write optional essays (no essays that are listed as “optional” in college admissions should be treated as such). Maybe a student flaunted privilege in activities and essays.

When students come to us in mid-December, there are some things we can’t fix. We don’t offer steroids. Rather, we offer nutrition. We can’t fix a student not having an ACT or SAT score. We can’t fix a student not having AP scores. We can’t help them get involved in new activities at this late date. Yet we want these students to know that which is both fixable and not fixable — so they know what they’re up against (plus, parents often have younger children who can benefit from this information). And indeed there is a whole lot that still can be fixed in mid-December. Maybe the student’s activities showcase a singular hook yet it’s sort of hidden in plain sight and needs to be brought to the surface. Maybe a student offers little in the way of specifics in Why College essays, failing to properly demonstrate interest in a college. Maybe a student wrote about sports, music, community service, travel, or their grandparents in the Personal Statement — topics that are non-starters in our book. All of this…it can be changed over the couple of weeks before Regular Decision deadlines. That, we like to say, is nutrition.

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