1. Parents and students who didn’t play their cards right in the Early round and come to us in the aftermath of deferrals and rejections listen. Yes, they listen. They so often heed all of our advice — from which schools to apply to in Regular Decision to how to reposition themselves for a better shot of admission in the spring. While we of course love the students and parents with whom we work through their high school journeys, sometimes (very infrequently) our students don’t heed our advice on the Early choice. Sometimes they question why we’re insisting a student take a certain course. Yet when students and parents who did not previously work with us come to us after things didn’t work out in the Early round, they understand and appreciate the common sense approach we advise they take.
2. Parents and students are willing to change what doesn’t work. If a student wrote a Personal Statement about their grief after a grandfather’s death, it’s not an essay that can be improved. Admissions officers don’t want to hear about grandparents. They want to hear about the student. Sports, music, community service, travel, childhood illnesses, and grandparents are six topics that — no matter how well executed — are often disqualifying topics in admissions. They’re cliché. Too many students write essays on these topics. It’s an essay that shouldn’t be improved. It should just flat out be burned (hey, it’s cold outside!). It doesn’t take months to re-craft essays. It takes days. It’s doable.
3. Parents and students recognize opportunity. While grades and scores can’t be changed and course mistakes generally can’t be corrected, students do have the chance to burn essays that sabotaged their chances of admission in the Early round. That shouldn’t be viewed as upsetting. It should be viewed as an opportunity for a clean start. And during these days in which we’re not supposed to go outside because COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high, what better things do students have to do right now?
4. Parents and students are wiling to immediately cease considering certain schools when we tell them it’s just never going to happen. During the remaining days before Regular Decision deadlines, there is an opportunity cost to work on an application to Harvard when the student doesn’t have a shot on God’s green earth of earning admission to Harvard. If they didn’t get into Dartmouth in the Early Decision round, it seems highly unlikely Harvard is going to happen in Regular Decision. And instead of working on that Harvard application, they could be working on an application to Duke where they just might have a shot with a strong, repositioned application.
5. Parents and students are willing to roll up their sleeves and have fun with this process. Sure, completing applications to elite universities can be stressful with deadlines looming. But it can also bring parents and children together in a memorable way…especially once they know they’re approaching the process correctly this time around. Once families learn from Ivy Coach’s Postmortem Evaluation what went wrong and what needs to change, they get it. And then they can all work together to rework the approach to Regular Decision schools.
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