The Harvard Early Action decisions are out! Run for the hills, for higher ground! The floodgates usually open the day that Harvard releases its Early Action decisions. The main office phone rings off the hook (we don’t answer it, as our voice message and the permanent Nelson Mandela banner on our homepage instructs — “Don’t call us. [We’ll email] you.”). The emails come in. The free consult forms are completed. We’re not sure why it all typically starts with Harvard but we’ve been doing this long enough to know to close our electronic devices immediately upon the release of Harvard decisions — except of course to check in with our students who’ve applied Early to Harvard. It’s like boarding a plane. “Please turn off all electronic devices.” We adhere to the instructions of flight attendants on Harvard’s decision day even if we’re not up in the air.
It never ceases to amaze us how confident so many parents are that their children will earn admission. Maybe they think their children are simply the greatest (it’s very common). Or maybe they didn’t think they needed the assistance of a private college counselor (now they know otherwise). Or maybe they just thought they had it in the bag because they were legacy applicants and Grandpa Harry had donated a building in 1964. Either which way, when the children of these parents receive word they’ve been deferred or denied, they have this awakening. And while that’s all well and good, there are literally only two weeks left before most Regular Decision applications are due after this great awakening.
Even more interesting, most parents of students who are deferred are solely focused on turning this deferral into an offer of admission when they contact us after their awakening. We always want to reawaken them like Kate Chopin. Hello parents! Your focus during the next two weeks before most Regular Decision applications are due should be on not making the same mistakes your children made with their Early Decision or Early Action schools. Duh. Of course your child wants to make the best case possible to their Early school — but that’s not nearly as time sensitive as correcting mistakes on Regular Decision applications. Because if your child didn’t get in Early, there likely were mistakes — sometimes big ones — that could very well have cost your child admission.
But alas these parents are horses led to water who do not wish to drink. They usually remain focused on that deferral — and turning it into an offer of admission (which we at Ivy Coach help students do better than anyone but it still should not be their focus in mid-December!). Sigh.