Some folks who were not previously our clients have been writing in asking for help with their Letters of Enthusiasm to the schools that deferred them in the Early Decision / Early Action round. Once we’re on the phone together for a free consult and they mention the Letter of Enthusiasm, the first thing we say is: “Has your child submitted his or her applications to the Regular Decision schools yet?” If the answer is “yes,” then there’s nothing we can do other than suggest he or she potentially add other schools to the list. And why? Because if the student was deferred in the Early Decision or Early Action round, there’s quite a good chance there were mistakes in the application. In fact, there is a 100% chance we would be able to significantly improve what that student has, if they came to us with enough time to spare. But if they already submitted those applications, there is nothing we can do. We’re then happy to work with the student on a Letter of Enthusiasm to the Early Decision or Early Action school.
If a student didn’t get into his or her Early Decision / Early Action school, you can bet there’s room for improvement on that application.
But if the answer is “no” — if the student hasn’t yet submitted applications to the Regular Decision schools — then we advise strongly against working on the Letter of Enthusiasm right away. After all, the Letter of Enthusiasm, a term we coined years ago, isn’t due on January 1st. Many applications are due on this date. The priority for these students should be fixing the mistakes that hurt their case for admission to their Early school, so they don’t make the same mistake over and over again on repeat.
And so for students who haven’t yet submitted their Regular Decision applications, we recommend a Postmortem Evaluation. We recommend you stop thinking about your Letter of Enthusiasm — focus on that in the New Year when you’ve got time on your side. Not now. Definitely not now. No admissions officer is reading your Letter of Enthusiasm over the holiday break anyway. Get real. If you’re interested in a Postmortem Evaluation in these final days before the New Year, we might have time to squeeze you in. Or we might not. It will depend on our scheduling. We will try. But we can make no promises. But even if you don’t do a postmortem with us, scrutinize that Early application — scrutinize, scrutinize, scrutinize it. As our President George W. Bush once said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” Ok, what he really meant was: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”