The Ivy Coach Daily

August 10, 2022

Premortem™ Strategy Session for Seniors

Is your child a rising senior? It’s not too late to correct course. It’s why we recommend Ivy Coach’s Premortem™ Strategy Session

Loyal readers of our college admissions blog are likely familiar with Ivy Coach’s Postmortem™ Strategy Session. This session takes place around mid-December with students who did not complete their college applications with our firm’s assistance and ultimately faced deferral(s) or denial(s) in the Early Decision / Early Action round. Maybe they applied Single Choice Early Action to Harvard and held out hope they’d earn admission only to learn they are among the sea of applicants who received a deferral to the Regular Decision round. Or maybe they applied Early Decision to Brown, received a flat out rejection, and can’t get their jaws off the floor that their case for admission wasn’t even particularly close. But right now is not mid-December. Right now is early August. And right now, this year’s batch of rising seniors still have a chance to reposition themselves so they present themselves in the best way possible to elite college admissions officers. It all starts with Ivy Coach Premortem™ Strategy Session.

What Is Ivy Coach’s Premortem™ Strategy Session?

Ivy Coach’s Premortem™ Strategy Session is designed for seniors who are about to navigate the churning waters of elite college admissions. Now, we can’t correct every mistake seniors have made to date — before they ever came to Ivy Coach. We can’t recommend activities that they should have been involved in back in ninth and tenth grades. We can’t correct the fact that they didn’t take certain AP exams that they should have taken to showcase how learning comes easily to them. But we can help them reposition their narratives so they make a more compelling case for admission. To quote Dave Matthews, we “make the best of what’s around.” Sometimes it’s about describing activities in a different, often unexpected way. Sometimes it’s about stringing a hook around seemingly disparate activities that actually, upon closer inspection, do indeed have a through-line. Sometimes it’s about enrolling in a class senior year that is a glaring omission on a senior year schedule (what, you weren’t planning on continuing foreign language — yikes!). And, yes, there’s still time to fix that senior year schedule — even if it means taking a course outside of school in this age of online learning if the course isn’t offered at the school or if it doesn’t fit in the student’s schedule.

Ivy Coach’s Premortem™ Strategy Session Is Not For the Faint of Heart

You see, we call it a Premortem™ Strategy Session because students aren’t yet in the medical examiner’s office awaiting autopsy on their applications, after deferrals and denials. They still have hope. They still have opportunity to right wrongs, to make their cases for admission more interesting, to make themselves more likable to the very people who will be evaluating their files. Now, a word of warning, the Premortem™ Strategy Session is not for the faint of heart. We do not — nor will we ever — sugarcoat. We tell it like it is. After all, while we work with students from across the country and around the world, Ivy Coach is proudly led by native New Yorkers. So, parents, know that we won’t be telling you and your children what you necessarily want to hear. But we will be telling you and your children what you need to hear. It’s how we’ve approached elite college admissions for the last three decades. It’s how we will approach elite college admissions for the next three decades.

We Can’t Help with Essays Until Students First Have a Go-Forward Strategy

Oh, and one last tidbit, lots of rising seniors want help with essays, essays, essays. We know. We get it. Helping students with essays is a big part of what we in fact do at Ivy Coach. But we cannot, we will not help rising seniors who are not yet our clients with essays until they’ve first completed our Premortem™ Strategy Session. After all, how can we help showcase a hook in college admissions essays if we haven’t first helped a student identify that hook in their activities? One can’t just free-write essays about this and that. Rather, they all need to showcase a singular hook that dares elite college admissions officers not to offer them admission. And as to the essays about sports, music, community service, leadership, grandma, foreign travel, and/or childhood illnesses that your child has already written, well, you might strongly consider using them to create paper airplanes instead.

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