The Ivy Coach Daily

July 24, 2021

The Impossible Dreamers in Admissions

An impossible dream once came true on the ice in Olympic play. But don’t waste your Early card in admissions on an impossible dream (photo credit: Henry Zbyszynski).

Each and every year around mid-December, we are flooded with emails and forms from students and parents — who were not our clients through the college admissions process — because their Early admission didn’t go according to plan. Shockingly (and yes we say this word with ample sarcasm), their children were deferred or denied admission to their dream school in the Early Decision / Early Action round. At this point, they want to know what went wrong so they don’t repeat these mistakes when they submit Regular Decision applications two weeks later and they want to know what they can do to improve their case for Regular Decision admission to their Early school in the event their admission was deferred. And in not all but most of these cases, the first mistake we tell them they made is they applied to a school that was, for them, an impossible reach.

We get it. Young people never want to wonder throughout the rest of their lives if they could have gotten into Harvard. To not apply Early to Harvard will leave them wondering throughout their remaining years, “Could I have earned admission to Harvard had only I applied Early?” But that’s ludicrous because we can tell a student if they have a legitimate shot of getting into Harvard before they apply Early. And if they don’t have a shot and they apply nonetheless, not only will they not get into Harvard but they won’t get into the reach school in the Regular Decision round that they just might have been able to get into had they applied there Early. Maybe a Duke or a Dartmouth could have been possible had they applied Early. But, hey, at least they’ll know for the rest of their lives that they didn’t get into Harvard and they won’t be getting into Duke or Dartmouth either?

At Ivy Coach, we have a crystal ball. Its readings are highly accurate. We always encourage students to apply to reach schools in the Early round — they should always take reasonable chance. And no one is going to pay our fees to earn admission to safe schools in the Early round. That would make little sense. But while the Olympics are now underway and back in 1980 the United States Olympic men’s hockey team did achieve the impossible dream, as Al Michaels called it, by defeating the Soviets and Finland, impossible dreams are impossible for a reason. So don’t waste your Early card. It’s the most valuable card you have in your back pocket in college admissions. Always apply to a reach school in the Early round. But never apply to an impossible reach. And if you’re not sure what is and what is not an impossible reach, well, that’s where Ivy Coach’s one-hour evaluation comes into play. So if you’re interested, fill out our free consultation form and we’ll be in touch.

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