The Ivy Coach Daily

December 27, 2021

The Secret Sauce of Ivy Coach’s Letters of Enthusiasm

At Ivy Coach, we have a secret family recipe for Letters of Enthusiasm. And it’s delicious.

Oh that’s cute. You thought we’d just share our secret sauce for our students’ powerful Letters of Enthusiasm that, for students who first approach us in mid-December after they receive not so great news, so often turn deferrals into offers of admission. While we appreciate that you read our college admissions blog, we are a business and our best recipes never appear on the pages of this site. While we offer lots of free advice on this blog that can benefit parents and students alike navigating the churning waters of elite college admissions, our delicious family recipes — passed down from generation to generation — are kept under lock and key, reserved only for those who enlist Ivy Coach’s services for deferred students. So what can we tell you?

Your Chances Aren’t Great, All We Can Do Is Give You the Best Chance Possible

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. You don’t have a great chance of earning admission to the school that deferred your admission. Sorry to tell you the cold, hard truth — but it is the truth and, at Ivy Coach, it has served us well to sugarcoat nothing for nearly 30 years. As a rule of thumb, approximately 10% of students who are deferred admission end up earning admission in the Regular Decision round. Over the last 29 years, approximately 40% of students who first come to Ivy Coach after a deferral have earned admission to the Early school that placed them in limbo. And while we don’t keep track of our success at each individual school since it’s about the same at all of them, we can report that over the last five years, 42% of students who first came to us after being deferred at Harvard have earned admission in Regular Decision.

But don’t be one of those annoying people who asks us for that same statistic at Duke or Dartmouth as though we sit around running the calculations all day for each given institution because those people are missing the point and are too often looking for something that we certainly can’t offer them — a guarantee. As we said, students who first come to us after being deferred achieve more or less the same level of success — about 40% get into their Early school — at just about all highly selective colleges over the past near three decades. In fact, at Dartmouth, for instance, our success is significantly higher than 40%. Heck, the person writing this post was deferred at Dartmouth and ultimately earned admission in Regular Decision with a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm. As the old commercial went, “I’m not only the president of the Hair Club for Men. I’m also a client.” Basically, we can’t give you a great chance. All we can do is give you the best chance possible. And if that’s not enough, well then, we wish you all the best with your case for admission but we’re simply not the right fit.

Ordinary Letters Won’t Do, Ivy Coach’s Letters Are Always Weird

For those parents who do wish to optimize the cases for admission of their deferred children, they all seem to know that their child needs to submit a Letter of Enthusiasm — sometimes also referred to as a Letter of Continued Interest — but many of these same parents think that by simply submitting a letter, their child is optimizing their case for admission. And that’s wrong. After all, it’s all about what’s in that letter. It’s easy to write a letter. It’s tough to write a great letter, the kind of letter that inspires admissions officers to want to root for a student. And that’s precisely what we do at Ivy Coach. We help students craft wonderfully weird letters that showcase their love for the institution and how they hope to contribute to the school in their own unique, small but meaningful way.

The letters of our students at Ivy Coach take various approaches but they always convey specifics that only apply to that one institution. And counter to the instincts of most parents, they never list a student’s accomplishments and they rarely include updates. Because, no, including updates and accomplishments is a highly unlikely strategy to inspire an admissions officer to like you and want to go to bat for you — which is the name of the game. In short, weird wins. They don’t care what you’ve done in the six weeks since you first applied. Unless you’ve landed on the moon, of course. If you have, that’s indeed noteworthy and we’ll find a subtle way to work it in your letter. But short of landing on the moon, admissions officers don’t care that you won a math competition and were named a scholar-athlete. Sorry Charlie!

Our Process for Deferred Students Is As Much for the Regular Decision Re-Approach As It Is for the Early School

Now, a number of parents think they should cut bait for the Early school and focus on the Regular Decision schools. They’re not totally wrong, though they’re not right either. You see, when a student invests their most important card in elite college admissions — their Early card — on a school, why would you not keep up the fight? Why give up when they still have a real shot of turning that deferral into an offer of admission in just a few short months? Put simply, giving up defies logic. But we do understand that one’s focus should also — absolutely — be on the Regular Decision schools and that’s why Ivy Coach’s process for deferred students is as much to help these students optimize their case for admission to their Early school as it is to optimize their case for admission to their Regular Decision schools. Through this process, students are going to learn the mistakes they made with their Early application so they don’t repeat those same mistakes. They’re going to also have a foundation for their re-approach to Regular Decision schools since their Letter of Enthusiasm can easily be used as a jumping off point for how they reposition their essays over the next two weeks. In short, we shift the foundation and that shift can have an enormous impact on Regular Decision results.

How Families Can Get Started with Ivy Coach’s Deferral Service

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance with our deferral package, which includes a Postmortem Strategy Session followed by assistance with crafting a compelling Letter of Enthusiasm, fill our our free consultation form, indicate the deferral at the bottom, and we’ll then be in touch within the day. And if you are interested, don’t burn days since we always fill up at this time of year and your child will need these days to not only craft a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm but to also reposition their candidacy for Regular Decision schools based on the strategy we map out during the Postmortem Strategy Session. Now before we sign off, we’ll leave you with one final insight. Students are often upset after the Postmortem Strategy Session. It’s why we don’t reconvene until the following day to brainstorm the Letter of Enthusiasm, which a student then writes based on our paragraph by paragraph direction and we subsequently strongly revise until it’s in outstanding shape for submission. Students are sometimes initially upset because they want to kick themselves after they realize the mistakes they made in the Early round — many of which were entirely avoidable. But, in our experience, student have thick skin and they’ll get over that disappointment by the next day, hellbent on improving their cases for admission in Regular Decision.

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