The Ivy Coach Daily

December 13, 2019

A Compelling Letter of Enthusiasm

We help students submit powerful and compelling Letters of Enthusiasm to offer them the best possible shot of admission in Regular Decision (photo credit: Andrew Chen).

Was your child deferred today by his or her dream school? If so, we understand that’s disappointing. We understand your world is rocked. Grieve for an hour. Maybe two. But not three. After three hours, it’s time to start getting proactive. It’s time to start fixing many of the mistakes that hurt your child’s Early Decision / Early Action candidacy so these same mistakes don’t hinder their Regular Decision chances. To make the same mistakes over and over and over again is, we wholeheartedly believe, the very definition of insanity. So what can you do? What must you do?

Deferred Students Must Not Do Nothing

You must not do nothing. The vast majority of students who are deferred by their Early Decision / Early Action school have sour grapes or feel so dejected that they decide to forget about that school entirely and focus on their Regular Decision schools. Now don’t get us wrong. Of course deferred students should be focused on Regular Decision schools — and in correcting many of the mistakes that went wrong in the Early round (and, yes, we promise there are mistakes which we point out during Ivy Coach’s Postmortem Evaluation — which is included as part of our assistance with a Letter of Enthusiasm).

But to give up on the Early school is to waste the Early card. Your child was deferred — not denied. And while the general rule of thumb is that about 10% of students who are deferred admission end up getting in during the Regular Decision round, over the last quarter of a century, a whole lot more than 10% of students who approach Ivy Coach for the first time after being deferred end up getting in during the Regular Decision round. As an example, over the last few years, about 40% of students who first approach us after being deferred from Harvard University, have earned admission. It’s not 90%. It’s not 80%. And if you’re looking for that kind of data, you’ve come to the wrong place. All we can do is give a student the best chance possible — and the parents and students we work with must understand and appreciate this. While it might be grim, think about it like a cancer diagnosis. If you don’t treat cancer, you can imagine the outcome. Memorial Sloan Kettering, the very best hospital devoted to the fight against cancer in the world, isn’t going to say you will absolutely live to a ripe old age. All they can do is give you the best chance possible. It’s all anyone can do. MSK just happens to be the very best.

Deferred Students Must Not Throw Things at the Wall to See What Sticks

And while many deferred students do nothing, many other deferred students do the wrong thing. We can’t tell you how many students do the wrong thing…and with such misplaced confidence! They send in letters in which they brag about all the things they’ve achieved since they first applied on November 1st. It’s December 13th. What has that student achieved in that 5+ week span? Did she find the cell of origin for prostate cancer? Did he circumnavigate the globe on a surfboard? Please. Bragging isn’t going to inspire admissions officers to root for applicants, which should be the very objective. And neither is inundating admissions officers with superfluous, totally irrelevant material. That additional letter of recommendation from Secretary Clinton? Save it for the family photo album. That manuscript the student has completed on Piaget? They’re not going to read it. Not even a page. It’s not going to improve your child’s case for admission as much as you may wish it will.

Deferred Students Should Submit Powerful Letters of Enthusiasm

So what should deferred students do? They should submit one powerful and compelling Letter of Enthusiasm, a term we at Ivy Coach coined many years ago. This letter should not be used as an opportunity to restate your case for admission. It should not be filled with not so humble brags. It should not be your Personal Statement or a supplemental essay regurgitated. It should not be about your trip to Nicaragua. It should not be filled with sadness about the result of your Early candidacy.

That’s great, Ivy Coach. So what should I write in the Letter of Enthusiasm? Well, that, dear readers, is a big part of Ivy Coach’s delicious secret sauce. It’s a big reason why deferred students who first come to Ivy Coach around this time every year not only quite often earn admission to the school at which they are deferred but vastly improve their Regular Decision results…so they never again experience the feeling of rejection in the college admissions process that they feel today. But if we had to sum up why our Letters of Enthusiasm so often prove effective, we can do that in one word. Our Letters of Enthusiasm are weird. We help students share their stories and express their continued interest in attending the school in refreshing, often fun and always memorable ways. Our task, of course, is to dare admissions officers not to admit a wonderfully likable student who is going to change the world in one super specific, often unusual way.

How Deferred Students Can Get Started with Ivy Coach

If you’re the parent of a deferred student or a deferred student yourself and you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance with crafting a Powerful Letter of Enthusiasm, fill out our free consultation form, write Letter of Enthusiasm at the bottom, and we’ll be in touch within the day to set up a free consultation so we can get the process started. So you’re aware of the process, we conduct a Postmortem Evaluation on your application not so that you kick yourself but so you don’t repeat the same mistakes, so you know what went wrong in every component of your application, and so you know why we’re focusing on what we are in your letter since you’ve only got once chance to grab their attention and inspire them to want to offer you admission. And remember: grieve for an hour. Maybe two. But after three hours, it’s time to start being proactive. Your child was deferred — not denied. Your child still has a fighting chance. And your child can still absolutely correct mistakes for the Regular Decision round over these next few weeks.

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