The Ivy Coach Daily

January 11, 2021

The Secret Sauce of Ivy Coach’s Letters of Enthusiasm

Ivy Coach helps students craft Letters of Enthusiasm that give students the best possible shot of admission in the Regular Decision round.

If your child was deferred from a highly selective university in the Early Action / Early Decision round, doing nothing is an unlikely strategy to earn admission to this same university in the Regular Decision round. Likewise, throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks is as unlikely a strategy. Such tactics could include sending a series of heartfelt emails every Tuesday to admissions officers, mailing family photos, or stopping by unannounced at the admissions office. People, people, people. In an ordinary year, no admissions officer wants to receive mailings of your family photos and no admissions officer wants to personally meet — or even speak — with deferred applicants. So, in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, do you really think they want to meet with you this year? Of course not! There is one way — and one way only — for a student to properly approach a deferral. Students who first become clients of Ivy Coach after their deferral all approach attempting to turn their deferral into an offer of admission the same way: through submitting a powerful, wholly original, and always unique Letter of Enthusiasm (a term we at Ivy Coach happened to coin many years ago).

About 10% of Deferred Students Get In, But That Figure Includes the Do-Nothings and the Do-All-The-Wrong-Things

As a general rule of thumb, about 10% of students who are deferred in the Early round — or waitlisted in the Regular Decision round — end up getting in. Yet in the nearly 30 years in which we at Ivy Coach have been in business, around 40% of students who first come to us after a deferral or waitlist end up earning admission in Regular Decision. This past year, the statistic was closer to 80% — likely due to the number of slots left open by students who opted to take gap years. So what is it that our students do? Why do our students’ Letters of Enthusiasm so often work? That’s an easy one for us to answer.

We Identify What Went Wrong During Postmortem Evaluation and Figure Out How to Reposition Candidacy

In most instances, students who first come to us after a deferral made the mistake of not presenting themselves to the elite university to which they applied the right way — all of which we identify during Ivy Coach’s Postmortem Evaluation, which is the first step of our Letter of Enthusiasm process. Maybe they presented activities that span from track to science research to Key Club to National Honor Society when no highly selective university in America seeks well-rounded students. Rather, they seek singularly talented students — students who excel in one particular area — and there just might be an activity or two that they didn’t bring to the surface that can form the basis of how they reposition themselves in their Letter of Enthusiasm. Yes, the hook might well be hidden in plain sight. Maybe they wrote a Personal Statement about sports, music, community service, foreign travel, a childhood illness, or their grandparents. Any essay executed in any one of these domains is, in the world of highly selective college admissions, utter cliché drivel.

You’ll Want to Kick Yourself, But You’ll Get Over It the Next Day As You Re-Approach the Process the Right Way

Shall we go on? We will! Maybe they wrote that English is their native tongue when in fact Telugu or Hindi is their true native tongue but they were worried about facing discrimination because they’re Indian American. Yet it would have been more impressive (and honest) if they told the truth. While admissions officers indeed do unjustly discriminate against Indian American applicants, it’s not based on their race alone. They know you’re Indian American. They can see where mom and dad went to college. Rather, they discriminate when applicants present a too typical profile associated with their race (e.g., another kid does classical Indian dance or plays tennis who wants to be a doctor or an engineer). Or maybe when the school asked them to write an essay on why they wish to go to that particular college, just about every sentence could apply to any university in America. Yes, Cornell has a beautiful campus just as Dartmouth does and both schools have diverse student bodies so that sentence too was utter fluff. We are against fluff. It is, in fact, our mortal enemy.

We Know You’re Waiting for Ivy Coach’s Secret Sauce

If you’re waiting for us to get to the secret sauce of Ivy Coach’s Letters of Enthusiasm, know that it’s a family recipe — passed down from generation to generation — and we keep it under lock and key along with all our other delicious Ivy Coach recipes…until you become a client that is. Heck, it’s a recipe that Bev gave to Brian when he was deferred at Dartmouth many moons ago…because he had little business getting in with his grades and his 660 on the math portion of the SAT (Brian, to this day, uses his fingers to count beyond 10). Yet the secret recipe did just the trick — turning a deferral into an offer of admission in March (along with a host of other admissions to highly selective universities). Yes, Hookt on Fonix workt 4 us! “I’m not only the Hair Club president but I’m also a client.” In any case, it can work for your child, too. And, no, we still won’t give you the secret recipe unless you’re a client. But, in short, our students’ letters are weird. They showcase a singular hook — one that’s often rather unusual. They demonstrate how they’re going to contribute that hook to the specific university to which they’ll be applying. And they are entirely likable — containing zero brags (a knee-jerk reaction of the vast majority of students and their parents). The letters of our students, while always unique and wonderfully weird, have one common thread: they inspire admissions officers to want to root for them, to move their applications to the proverbial top of the pile.

Ivy Coach’s Letter of Enthusiasm Process

So you know the process, we begin with a Postmortem Evaluation during which time you and your child learn what went wrong and what we need to focus on going forward. We meet again the following day at which time we read Letters of Enthusiasm that have worked for our students in the past. Then we give your child paragraph by paragraph direction for their Letter of Enthusiasm. Your child writes the first draft based on this direction. We then revise that draft until we believe it’s in outstanding shape for submission. Your child then doesn’t pitch a tent outside the admissions office. Your child doesn’t then email them a laundry list of his or her accomplishments since first applying just six weeks ago (what can one really achieve in six weeks anyway?). And your child doesn’t send them apple pies and baked ziti. If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance with your Letter of Enthusiasm, a process that takes a few days to complete, fill out our free consultation form, indicate Letter of Enthusiasm at the bottom, and we’ll be in touch within the day.

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