The Ivy Coach Daily

July 6, 2024

Can You Reapply Regular Decision After an Early Round Rejection?

A glass building sits in front of a brick building on Harvard University’s campus.

Some students who are deferred or denied wonder what more they can do to improve their odds of admission after receiving the unhappy news of a deferral or denial in mid-December of their senior years. For deferred candidates, there are decisive steps they can take to optimize their chances of admission in the Regular Decision round. For denied students, the word is final at the overwhelming majority of elite universities — at least for this year.

Applying Regular Decision After an Early Action/Early Decision Deferral

After receiving notice of a deferral, there is nothing an applicant must do to remain in consideration for Regular Decision admission. Students who applied Early and are deferred are automatically placed in the Regular Decision pool. At most elite universities, their candidacies will be reevaluated over the two weeks or so before Regular Decision notifications are released.

At a couple of schools, deferred students are offered the opportunity for admissions officers to consider their applications for Early Decision II. For example, suppose a student applies through non-binding Early Action to the University of Chicago. In that case, the school asks that applicant — through a form — if they wish to be considered for binding Early Decision II admission. Of course, committing to UChicago through Early Decision II will boost their odds of admission to the institution.

But at most schools, deferred Early Action/Early Decision applicants are simply placed in the Regular Decision pool. At most elite universities, 10% of these students will earn admission when Regular Decision notifications are released in late March or early April.

What to Do After an Early Action/Early Decision Deferral

Of course, students shouldn’t just wait with their hands in their pockets for the school that kicked the can down the road on their case for admission to render a final verdict. There are explicit steps deferred candidates should take to optimize their case for admission, which are as follows:

  1. Complete a PostMortem application review with Ivy Coach so you understand what went right, what went wrong, what needs to change for your Regular Decision schools (though you can’t change your Early application), and what narrative you need to lean into moving forward with your Early school.
  2. Submit a powerful Letter of Continued Interest to your Early school within a few days of your deferral. This letter is your chance to showcase this narrative, a narrative that isn’t inconsistent with your previously submitted application but is more powerfully told.
  3. Closely examine your Regular Decision applications to address the mistakes pointed out during the PostMortem. While you can’t fix these mistakes for your Early school, you sure can fix them for your RD schools. And you can use the framework of your Letter of Continued Interest to reposition your narrative.
  4. In the New Year, bring your Letter of Continued Interest to your school counselor and ask them to make an advocacy call on your behalf to the regional representative at your Early school. This way, they’ll be armed with how you positioned your narrative so they can pitch you similarly. While some school counselors will decline to make advocacy calls on students’ behalf, good school counselors will do so. It’s their job.
  5. Do nothing more with your Early school. So many students think they must keep up the fight to their Early school by drowning them in additional letters and calls. Such ill-advised moves will only drown out the power of your Letter of Continued Interest and render you annoying to the very people who are weighing your case for admission. Don’t be a gadfly.

Applying Regular Decision After an Early Action/Early Decision Rejection

After receiving notice of a rejection, there is nothing an applicant can do to remain in consideration for Regular Decision admission. With the exception of a couple of schools that allow an appeal, like the University of Southern California, there is no recourse for an applicant who receives a denial. The school considered your application and they did not see you fit for admission. It’s time to move on!

Now, you can reapply next year as a transfer applicant or after taking a gap or PG year (we at Ivy Coach strongly recommend reapplying as a transfer or after a PG year rather than after taking a gap year). Still, the book is closed on your case for admission this year.

What to Do After an Early Action/Early Decision Rejection

After receiving a rejection from your Early school, there are explicit steps denied candidates should take to optimize their case for admission to their Regular Decision schools, schools which do not include the Early school. Those steps are as follows:

  1. Complete a PostMortem application review with Ivy Coach so you understand what went wrong with your application and what needs to change for your Regular Decision schools so you don’t receive similar results.
  2. Revamp your applications for Regular Decision. You weren’t deferred — you were denied. It wasn’t close. At Ivy Coach, we work with a few students every year over the two weeks between Early notifications and Regular Decision deadlines to reframe their cases for admission to other schools.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance Moving Forward

If you’re interested in optimizing your chance to your Early school after a deferral or if you’re interested in finding out what went wrong after a deferral or denial so you can avoid repeating mistakes with your Regular Decision schools, fill out Ivy Coach’s complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our game plan for seniors.

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