As our nation’s most highly selective colleges release their Early Decision / Early Action admissions decisions, there will be some happy high school seniors as well as some dejected ones. For the happy high school seniors who applied to a school with a binding Early Decision program like Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, UPenn, Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, and more, they can celebrate being done with the stressful college admissions process. They played their cards well, made compelling cases for admission, and, in many cases, applied to reach schools but not impossible reaches for them. For the happy high school seniors who applied to a school with a non-binding Early Action program like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, and more, they can be done with the admissions process if they choose to be done.
As an aside, every year we have a student who earns admission to Harvard (congrats to our students who just got in moments ago!) or Stanford in the Early Action round and yet wishes to then submit Regular Decision applications. We won’t help them with those applications if we haven’t already done so — before they learned of their decision — and when they ask us why, we reply, “Because you got into Harvard. You’re going to Harvard. You’re only applying to these other schools to put feathers in your cap. You don’t need those feathers. You don’t even wear caps. It will only take away slots from other students.” But you bet every year one of our students who earns admission to Harvard or Stanford will ask us this question. They’re often surprised by our answer. But it’s our answer nonetheless.
Help for Applicants Deferred or Denied Admission in the Early Round
And then there are the students who are deferred or denied admission in the Early round. As a rule of thumb, deferred students have about a 10% chance of admission in the Regular Decision round to that same school. We help students each and every year — students we haven’t previously worked with — make their best case for admission after being deferred to that school by helping them pen a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm, a term we at Ivy Coach coined many years ago. For students who are denied admission, there is absolutely nothing they can do to change the decision — with the rare exception of schools that allow appeals such as the University of California schools. But, no, there is no Ivy League schools that has an appeals process. We can’t help those students improve their odds of admission to the school they applied Early to, but we can help these students — as well as deferred students — avoid making the same mistakes they made in the Early round again in the Regular Decision round.
The Postmortem College Admissions Evaluation
Students who are deferred whom we’ve never before worked with often come to us seeking help with their Letter of Enthusiasm. And we are happy to help them craft a powerful, moving letter but the first thing we tell these students and their parents is that the Early school is no longer the priority. Sorry. That letter can go in a bit later. The priority now — and we’ll repeat it once more for good measure — is making sure the same mistakes that were made in the Early round aren’t made in the Regular round. You’d be amazed how many students think they did nothing wrong in the Early round and so do so again in the Regular round. The first priority is reviewing that application that was submitted to the Early Decision or Early Action school(s) — to fix mistakes that maybe students and parents didn’t even realize were mistakes. And when we say maybe didn’t realize, what we really mean is they likely didn’t realize these were mistakes.
Maybe that Personal Statement about basketball was trite (if the essay was about sports, we promise it was!). Maybe a Why College essay wasn’t tailored enough to a given institution. Maybe there’s a mistake in senior year courses — perhaps the courses aren’t rigorous enough. Maybe a student included a ton of totally unnecessary information in the Additional Information section. Maybe they bragged in an essay or presented themselves as well-rounded. You name it, we’ve seen the mistake. And many of these mistakes can absolutely be corrected so they’re not repeated.
If you’re interested in a postmortem college admissions evaluation with Ivy Coach, fill out our free consultation form and indicate “Postmortem Evaluation” at the bottom. We’ll be in touch within the day to set up the free consult to answer questions about this specific service.
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