Friday, July 19College Admissions News

Game Plan for Deferred and Denied Students

The Game Plan For Deferred And Denied Students
Ivy Coach helps reposition the narratives of students after Early Decision / Early Action deferrals or denials (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

Did your child receive a deferral or, worse, a denial from their dream Ivy League or other highly selective university in the Early Action / Early Decision round of admissions? If so, grieve the decision for a few minutes — and then get over it because you don’t have time to go through all five stages of grief right now. Regular Decision applications are due in just a couple of weeks. The time is now for your child to take corrective actions to avoid making the same mistakes in the Regular Decision round. So what’s the game plan?

Ivy Coach’s PostMortem Application Review for Deferred or Denied Students

It’s precisely why we at Ivy Coach offer a PostMortem application review for either deferred or denied students. In short, it’s an autopsy of your child’s Early Action / Early Decision application, along with up to three additional college applications that still need to be submitted.

While we can’t correct mistakes in coursework and AP testing through high school at this late juncture, there’s a lot we can still fix. We can refine big-ticket items, like how applicants tell their stories, position their activities, demonstrate interest in each specific college, and showcase a singular hook that dares admissions officers not to offer them admission. And we can refine small-ticket items too, like not including their social security numbers on The Common Application (it implies financial need) or deleting the superfluous material they’ve included in the Additional Information section.

If your child made any of the following mistakes, which are certainly not exhaustive, in the Early Action / Early Decision round, it’s time to take corrective action for Regular Decision:

In their Personal Statement, they wrote about sports, music, community service, their grandparents, or travel.
They didn’t write the optional Covid essay (no optional essay in college admissions should ever be considered optional).
In a Why College essay, they name-dropped professors or wrote generic sentences that could apply to any school in America (“I want to go to UPenn because of its beautiful campus, intimate class sizes, wonderful professors, and diverse student body.”).
They boasted about the number of hours they volunteered at each activity in the activities section (hours per week should be on the left-hand column, not in the valuable description).
Their activities section included a mix of tutoring, sports, and music — rendering them well-rounded.
They tooted their own horn about their activities in their essays, which will only come across as selling: admit me, admit me!
They applied to a school that was an impossible dream, and their Regular Decision list is more of the same.

Ivy Coach’s Letter of Enthusiasm Assistance for Deferred Students

In addition to learning what went wrong so that they don’t repeat mistakes in the Regular round that they made in the Early round, deferred students need to submit a compelling Letter of Enthusiasm. They should submit this letter within a few days of their deferral so that the college doesn’t believe they have sour grapes.

While most deferred students know to submit a letter as soon as possible, these students typically send in the wrong kinds of letters. These letters shouldn’t be filled with updates and a regurgitation of accomplishments since they first applied six weeks ago. That is an improbable strategy to inspire an admissions officer at an elite university to root for them. In a word, Ivy Coach’s Letters of Enthusiasm are weird; they are love letters to the schools, and they showcase how a student will contribute their singular hook to the institution.

And as to the parents out there who think, “Our focus is really on the Regular Decision schools. We’ve lost hope on the Early school,” we say to you, “Nonsense!” You must have a twofold focus now: (1) repositioning your child’s case for admission to all Regular Decision schools and (2) making your child’s case for admission to their Early school. After all, your child used their most valuable card in admissions, their Early card, at this school. To give up the fight now defies common sense.

As a rule of thumb, about 10% of deferred students get into their Early school during the Regular Decision round. Over the last 30 years, about 40% of students who first come to Ivy Coach after a deferral earn entry to their Early school. And, yes, most students come to us after deferrals from Ivy League institutions and from Duke, MIT, Northwestern, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, and other highly selective universities.

Ivy Coach’s College Application Overhaul for Deferred or Denied Students

Beyond Ivy Coach’s PostMortem application review for deferred or denied students and Letter of Enthusiasm assistance for deferred students, we take on a select few students each year at this time to help revamp their applications, including all of their admissions essays. There are always mistakes we can’t correct at this late date. But our task is to make the best of the hand we’re dealt.

The students we take on to assist with their college applications over the last two weeks of December are students who first complete Ivy Coach’s PostMortem application review. After all, the strategy we map out during that initial application review is the strategy we will execute with your child. If we don’t work together beyond the PostMortem, the execution of that strategy will be in your and your child’s hands over the holiday season — but at least you’ll be armed with the right approach. And it’s likely a very different approach than the one your child would have otherwise executed.

How to Enlist Ivy Coach’s PostMortem Application Review or PostMortem Application Review and Letter of Enthusiasm Help

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance with a PostMortem application review or a PostMortem application review followed by a Letter of Enthusiasm assistance, click on our orange button and fill out our form to schedule a free consultation. We’ll then promptly be in touch to answer any questions you have about Ivy Coach’s services. If you wish to proceed, we recommend you contact us sooner rather than later since time is of the essence, and we regrettably fill up during the holiday craze.



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