What To Do If You’re Deferred or Denied

Deferred Applicants, Letter of Enthusiasm, Letters for Deferred Students
We regularly take on a few students at this time every year…because we have the bandwidth. And why? Because, overwhelmingly, our students at Ivy Coach earn admission to their Early Decision / Early Action schools.

At this time every year, our email inbox at Ivy Coach is on fire. The emails tend not to be from the students we’ve been working with through the years. And why? Because, in our experience, our seniors and/or their parents tend to call us when they learn of their good news. You see, people who receive good news wish to share it and hear our reaction to their offer of admission. Of course, every now and then a student just forwards their offer of admission to us, which is so lame. Or maybe they’ll send us a three word email with no subject: “I got in!” We of course call them immediately to both congratulate them and chastise them for not calling with the good news so we could hear it in their own words. But most folks who write us in mid-December, well, they weren’t our clients. They’re writing in because they (or their children) were deferred or denied in the Early round and they need to understand what went wrong so they don’t make the same mistakes in the Regular Decision round. And, yes, we can absolutely help them — and we do.

Postmortem Evaluation for Deferred or Denied Applicants

If you or your child was deferred or denied in the Early round, there are indeed going to be some mistakes that are no longer correctable at this late date. We can’t help fix which senior year courses the student takes or which AP tests they’ve completed. But there are many mistakes that are absolutely still correctable — even in mid-December. How a student presents their activities, which activities they’re presenting, how a student is telling his or her story in the Personal Statement and the supplemental essays (many of which need to be uniquely tailored to each school)…it’s all still correctable. And while the students and parents who come to us at this time of year — just a couple of weeks before the Regular Decision deadline — will not be able to submit applications without some shortcomings, in short, we can absolutely help improve the hand we are dealt…big time.

During the one-hour Postmortem Evaluation, we will go through every component of a student’s Common Application and as many supplements as time permits during that hour. We will point out mistakes that a student and his or her parents may not have even realized are mistakes that likely hurt the student’s case for Early Decision / Early Action admission. Some of these mistakes could be in the seemingly innocuous questions of the Common Application — like inserting a social security number. Yes, that’s right. By inserting a social security number, a student is essentially implying that he or she is applying for financial aid. And, no, most highly selective colleges are not truly need-blind. Rather, they’re need-aware. In our experience, by the end of the session, students and parents — while they might be temporarily upset that they made the mistakes they made in the Early round — get over their heartache and start executing the game plan we lay out for them during the Postmortem Evaluation, which you can read more about here.

Letter of Enthusiasm for Deferred Students

And if you or your child was deferred in the Early Decision / Early Action round, know that the vast majority of deferred applicants do one of two things: nothing or the wrong thing. You see, most deferred applicants do nothing after they’re deferred, choosing instead to give up and focus on the Regular Decision schools. Or they bombard college admissions officers with stuff that will hurt rather than help their case for admission. Maybe they’ll send a letter boasting of all the things they have achieved since they first applied (what has a student really achieved since they first applied a little over a month ago?). Or maybe they’ll ask a laundry list of high school teachers to send in additional letters of recommendation. Both approaches — doing nothing and bombarding admissions officers with superfluous, braggadocios material — lead us to say to ourselves: oy vey! If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, well, you know we say that a whole lot.

In any case, deferred students should absolutely not give up. Students who applied Early showed their love for a school in the Early round. If the student applied to an Ivy League school, that student chose this school over all other schools and, yes, colleges love to be loved. So while we absolutely agree that students must fix the mistakes they made in the Early round for the Regular Decision schools — mistakes they will learn about during our Postmortem Evaluation — submitting a Letter of Enthusiasm to the Early school is absolutely essential to do in tandem. And, yes, we did coin the term Letter of Enthusiasm many years ago! It’s a claim to fame. Accept it.

While about 10% of deferred applicants, as a rule of thumb at highly selective schools, tend to earn admission in the Regular Decision round, a significantly higher percentage of deferred students who first come to us after being deferred end up getting in after submitting a powerful and compelling Letter of Enthusiasm. As an example, at Harvard University, our statistic typically hovers closer to 40%. And if you’re wondering how our students approach Letters of Enthusiasm, well, that is part of Ivy Coach’s delicious secret sauce. But, in a sentence, our students submit wonderfully weird letters that highlight how precisely they will contribute their singular hook to the school to which they applied. And, in turn, they inspire admissions officers to want to root for them.

How Deferred and Denied Applicants Can Start with Ivy Coach

If you are a deferred Early Decision / Early Action applicant, you must fight on. You cannot — you must not — give up. While we absolutely agree that you must also focus on Regular Decision schools and not make the same mistakes again, to give up on that Early school now is to waste your Early card. If you’re interested in a Postmortem Evaluation or a Postmortem Evaluation in addition to assistance with crafting an outstanding Letter of Enthusiasm, fill out our free consult form and indicate whether you were deferred or denied in the Early round. And, if you are interested in the Postmortem Evaluation and/or assistance with a Letter of Enthusiasm, the time is now. After all, we will need every available day before the Regular Decision deadline to fix mistakes that can absolutely still be corrected so you don’t feel the same way you do today in just a few short months from now.


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1 Comment

  • Jefferson Bowen says:

    Typically, what is the range of fees you charge for Postmortem Evaluation in addition to assistance with crafting an outstanding Letter of Enthusiasm?

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