A students at Crossroads School has published a fun op-ed on the pages of “The LA Times.”
We came across a super cute op-ed on the pages of “The LA Times” by a senior at Crossroads School, one of the most competitive high schools in Los Angeles, California. In the editorial by Haskell Flender (what a name, right?) entitled “What happens when your college crush won’t commit?,” Haskell describes what he’s been going through since the school to which he applied Early Decision chose to defer his candidacy to the Regular Decision round. As we’ve done many times in the past, he compared the college admissions process to dating. Indeed there are so many parallels one can draw!
As Haskell (we just love this name!) writes, “This is my story. Not all the details — those stand in for every student’s over-amped college application resume. But a few months ago, I proposed to a college. Two weeks ago, the college deferred my application. We’re not breaking up, exactly; we’re just giving each other some space. I can’t say it doesn’t hurt. It wasn’t a mutual decision since I was 100% prepared to commit. But the university needed more time to decide if we were right for each other. I’m trying to respect that. I’m resisting the temptation to bombard the admissions office with arguments as to why this school would be lucky to have me. I’m trying not to parse too closely the logic behind its saying that while I didn’t rise to the top among 5,000 other early action candidates, perhaps I will when the applicant pool expands to 35,000. It may just be the school’s way of letting me down easy, instead of rejecting me outright. It’s hard to know. But here’s what happens when the university you’re smitten with puts you on ice: You start looking around. After all, you’re a pretty great guy, an excellent student with diverse accomplishments; you’re not going to be unattached forever. There are other fish in the sea.”
Good for you, Haskell! That’s right. Now that your Early Decision school has put you on ice, you are free and clear to fall in love with other schools. And, based on your outstanding writing and unique voice, it sure seems like their loss is another school’s gain. The beginning of your op-ed actually reminded us of The Most Famous College Essay ever written. We sometimes see variations of this kind of essay that students are seeking to submit to colleges. And we always discourage it. The essay is too famous and who wants admissions officers to think that you were inspired by it? Nobody. Or at least nobody should.
But we feel for ya, Haskell. And we have a feeling, based on your writing skills, that you’ll be successful no matter what college you end up at. The kid can write. And we’re pretty critical so for us to say that, it means something. There are many colleges in the sea, Haskell, but there is only one Haskell Flender. Literally. We’re quite certain there are no other Haskell Flenders in the phone book. Like nowhere.
Bev Taylor, Founder of The Ivy Coach, is quoted extensively today on the pages of “The Duke Chronicle,” the newspaper of Duke University.
Bev Taylor, Founder of The Ivy Coach, has been featured in an article of “The Duke Chronicle” entitled “Duke stands by binding early decision policies” that we figured we’d share with our reader-base. Many argue that binding Early Decision policies preclude applicants who need to weigh one college’s financial aid offer against another from applying. And that’s because they won’t have a chance to compare the packages since they’re only applying to one school. It’s like going to a physician without having the option of getting a second opinion, we imagine they’d argue. So what does Bev have to say about Early Decision policies precluding students of low-socioeconomic means, you ask? Hogwash.
As quoted in this piece in “The Duke Chronicle,” “Bev Taylor, founder of the The Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said that opposition to early decision is often due to ignorance of the resources available to applicants. Financial aid calculators exist at nearly every top university, and students can check their financial aid packages before they even apply, she said. Financial aid packages for students admitted through both early and regular decision are calculated the same way at Duke, [assistant vice provost and director of financial aid Alison] Rabil said. ‘We don’t change how we calculate the award just because you’ve made a commitment to us for ED,’ she wrote. Early decision offers additional benefits, Taylor added. The program provides closure to both colleges and students — a university knows that a part of its class is filled, and prospective students can stop stressing about the college search. ‘The beauty of early decision is that these colleges know that if the student is applying, they’re coming,’ Taylor said. Taylor noted that applicants may also benefit from higher early decision acceptance rates. At 25 percent, the early decision acceptance rate for the Duke Class of 2018 is higher than its regular decision acceptance rate of 9 percent in the same year. A similar trend is visible at peer universities, both those with early decision and those with early action.”
While Early Decision policies may regrettably preclude students of low socio-economic means from applying (and the data certainly supports this unfortunate fact), it’s likely only because these families haven’t been well informed that they can calculate their financial aid packages before they even apply to colleges, including their potential Early Decision school. They can indeed still do the comparison! Applying to only one school rather than fifteen schools sure saves money on applications too and it’s high time that this myth that Early Decision discriminates against those of low socio-economic means is busted. Maybe it’ll be on “MythBusters.” Don’t hold your breath. How cool was the one about the escape from Alcatraz?
Deferred applicants should absolutely submit powerful Letters of Enthusiasm irrespective of what a college admissions office may say.
Some students and parents have been writing to us of late stating that the schools to which they applied Early specifically said — more or less — that they didn’t want to hear from deferred applicants. They’re a bit confused because we suggest submitting Letters of Enthusiasm to universities that deferred a student’s candidacy until the Regular Decision round. Well, let’s clear that up right here and now. Not everything that colleges tell you is correct. If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know well that we’ll call just about anyone out for not being accurate or honest. We are unapologetic. Our honesty can be brutal and difficult to hear at times. But it’s honesty nonetheless and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Ignore these colleges when they say don’t submit Letters of Enthusiasm. They of course don’t refer to these letters as Letters of Enthusiasm — that’s just a term we like to call them. And it’s a term that has really taken off!
If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that colleges send brochures to students in the hope of encouraging them to apply even though these students don’t stand a chance of gaining admission. These colleges simply want to boost their application numbers so that they’ll have lower admission rates and rank higher in the annual, all-important “US News & World Report” rankings. That’s not exactly honest. Neither is touting need blind admissions policies. No college is need blind. Rather, they are need aware. While we can go on for quite a while on this subject, in short, if they’re need blind, then why can admissions officers see whether or not an applicant checked that he/she needs financial aid on the Common App.? Ask yourself this question as well: If a college were truly need blind, then couldn’t they — theoretically — admit an entire class of students that needed financial aid? In such a case, they’d have to significantly dip into their endowment. Colleges rely on tuition…they can’t truly be need blind! It’s a myth. Like Santa Claus.
Anyhow, if you’re a deferred applicant, it’s imperative that you submit a compelling Letter of Enthusiasm. An ordinary letter won’t do. Submitting a letter in which you list all of your remarkable achievements since being deferred won’t do (oy vey!). This letter has got to be extraordinary. It has got to be powerful and moving. If you’re interested in The Ivy Coach’s assistance with your Letter of Enthusiasm, fill out our consult form and we’ll write you back. It’s also important that you get moving on submitting this letter if you haven’t done so already as you want the school reviewing your application now, with the Regular Decision pool.
This picture of Yale’s Woolsey Hall is from a long time ago. Don’t wait too long to write your Letter of Enthusiasm!
We sometimes get emails from parents who come to us not only after their child was deferred admission to their Early Decision or Early Action college but around now, after they’ve already sent out all of their Regular Decision applications. They’re inquiring about the Letter of Enthusiasm because they’ve read about the importance of the Letter of Enthusiasm on our college admissions blog. But in some instances, we receive emails from parents after their child has already submitted his or her Letter of Enthusiasm. They tell us that they already submitted the letter but they want us to review it to ensure them that it’s great.
Yes, you read that correctly. So they want us to read their awful letters and tell them they’re great. Well, if you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that we hold nothing back. We are unapologetic. And we are honest. It’s a big part of why we’re good at what we do. But we feel badly when they email us after the patient is already dead on arrival to see if he’s in great shape. He’s not in great shape. He’s dead. But it does this parent no good to hear this. And so we write back something along the lines of, “No need to worry. It’s out of your hands.” We aren’t sure what to write in these cases. We don’t want them to lose sleep over the fact that they could have done more. They didn’t “put their best foot forward,” even though they sure think they did.
So if you ever get an email from us in which we say something along the lines of “No need to worry,” know that you’ve put yourself in a bit of a pickle. You came to us too late. Don’t come to us so late. Come to us when the patient is still alive and kicking. Kick, kick, kick. Just like a swim coach would tell you in a freestyle sprint.
Doing nothing is not the remedy to turning your deferral into an offer of admission (photo credit: Sach1tb).
We’ve got some deferred Early applicant advice. If you were deferred to your Early Decision or Early Action school(s) and you haven’t yet written or aren’t about to get started on your Letter of Enthusiasm to this school, we happen to think you’re positively nuts. Allow us to offer you up an analogy. You’ve trained to swim the 200 meter butterfly at the Olympic Games. You stared at a black line at the bottom of the pool every day throughout much of your childhood and young adulthood. If you add up the miles you’ve swam, you’ve essentially circumnavigated the earth. But right as your heat is being called at the Olympic Trials, you decide to go to the movies instead. After all, the latest installment of “The Hunger Games” is playing and you just can’t miss it. Ok, that’s an absurd analogy. But so is not writing a Letter of Enthusiasm to your Early Decision or Early Action school(s).
If you applied Early Decision to a school, you committed to that school. You showed that school you loved it. You showed that school that you loved it more than any other school in America. You were prepared to go there if you got in. But you didn’t get in. And yet you didn’t get denied admission either. You were put into limbo. You were deferred. So now that you’ve worked so hard to earn great grades and SAT or ACT scores, now that you’ve invested so many countless hours in your after-school pursuit, you’re going to hang up the towel? You’re not even wet. Remember, you went to the movies. You didn’t go to Olympic Trials. So you’re dry.
It’s time to get wet. If you don’t submit a Letter of Enthusiasm, you can bet you’re not going to get a slot at the Olympic Games. You’ve got to show that college that you still love them, that you don’t have sour grapes, that this school remains your first love. You’ve got to demonstrate to them what you can add to their university, how you can contribute. There is no better way to do this than by submitting a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm.
But an ordinary letter won’t do. Chances are there’s a good reason you got deferred. Maybe your admissions essays weren’t very good. Don’t make the same mistake again with your Letter of Enthusiasm. This letter has got to be exceptional if you hope to stand out from all of the other Regular Decision and deferred applicants. Because you’re competing with all of them! If interested in our assistance with a Letter of Enthusiasm, fill out our free consultation form and indicate on the bottom that you’d like our help with a Letter of Enthusiasm. We look forward to hearing from you.
Many applicants who need financial aid choose not to apply in the Early Decision and Early Action round, as an article in “Business Week” correctly points out.
There’s an article in “Business Week” entitled “Here’s One Way to Get Early Admission Into College: Be Rich” that we figured we’d discuss. The piece, authored by Janet Lorin, focuses on how many students are unable to apply during the Early Decision and Early Action rounds because they need to be able to compare financial aid packages. And this can really only be done during the Regular Decision round, when multiple offers are coming in (although it’s possible to apply to a couple of schools Early…depending on the restrictiveness of the Early Action program at play). Consequently, the article points out, these students don’t get to benefit from easier chances for admission in the Early round and now have to compete with so many other students for the remaining slots. After all, at many highly selective colleges, 50% of their incoming classes are already filled after the Early round.
The article focuses on one high school student in particular, Jackson Le. Jackson is a high school senior in Quincy, Massachusetts. His mother works as a manicurist at a nail salon after emigrating from Vietnam. Jackson himself works twenty hours a week at a local Starbucks. As Lorin writes, “Le has his sights on Boston University. Since he needs to shop around for the best financial aid possible, he didn’t apply there for early decision in the fall. The percentage of places filled early at Boston University has doubled to 20 percent over the past seven years. He envies wealthier classmates who are already broadcasting their acceptance letters on Twitter.”
But we have good news for Jackson. Highly selective college admissions officers will be rooting for him in the Regular Decision round, assuming he told his story correctly. Which is probably an inaccurate assumption given as we rarely see strong applications that our fingerprints aren’t on. So we’ll correct that. Had we worked with Jackson, these admissions officers would have been rooting for him. They’d eat up that his mom works as a manicurist, that he himself works 20 hours at Starbucks in the hope of paying for college. How can someone not root for that kid? Highly selective colleges love students who understand the values that come with working, with helping out their families. We often wonder why more students don’t work in fact. Instead, they go on service trips and travel to foreign countries. Which only conveys that mommy and daddy have a lot of money. And who roots for those kids?
We never thought we’d put a photo of a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon on our college admissions blog. But now we have.
If a Cuisinart blender that costs $300 is mislabeled as costing $30 at Bed Bath & Beyond, there are consumer protection laws on the books here in the United States that dictate the customer is entitled to purchase that blender for $30. And that customer can indeed still use a 20%-off coupon and walk away with a blender for $24 plus tax. After all, to shop at Bed Bath & Beyond without coupons is like applying to college by marketing yourself as a three-sport athlete who has a passion for Key Club. Yikes! The items are marked up at Bed Bath & Beyond in anticipation of customers using coupons so it’s quite foolish if you ask us to walk in without those blue, ubiquitous blue marketing material.
But enough about Bed Bath & Beyond. What’s the point of our little anecdote, you ask? Well, the Johns Hopkins admissions office made an egregious error this admissions cycle. And by egregious error we really mean nearly 300 egregious errors. Johns Hopkins sent offers of admission to nearly 300 Early candidates only to later rescind their acceptances, stating that they were sent in error. Their message to these impacted students read as follows: “Earlier today, you may have received an email from us with the subject line: Embrace the YES! Please note that this email was sent in error. The decision posted on the decision site reflects the accurate result of your Early Decision application. We regret this technical mistake and any confusion it may have caused.” Please note that this email was sent in error. Noted, thanks Johns Hopkins.
It caused more than confusion, Johns Hopkins. While none of our students were impacted by this error and we congratulate our students who earned admission in the Early round to Hopkins, perhaps the admissions office should have been more careful when sending out their decisions. Unless they’re prepared to blame this error on North Korea (and private, salacious emails from the dean of admissions are about to get posted on “The Guardian”), someone in that admissions office has some explaining to do. And perhaps Johns Hopkins would be better served by proceeding as Bed Bath & Beyond would. Let these students in. Build another dorm if you have to. It was your mistake. So deal with it. Shame on the Johns Hopkins admissions office for the unnecessary roller coaster ride they put these nearly 300 students on, students who were already on the roller coaster ride of highly selective college admissions.
Did you know that the hit ABC series “Body of Proof” about a medical examiner played by Dana Delany was based off of Brian’s idea? Don’t believe us? Read on.
If you’re a student or the parent of a student who applied via an Early Action or Early Decision program and was either deferred or denied admission, you need to know why your application didn’t make the cut. You need to know what mistakes were made and we promise that mistakes were made because the last thing you want to be doing is making these same mistakes in your Regular Decision applications. If you wrote an essay about your grandfather, it’s a mistake. If you checked certain boxes on the application, it’s a mistake. If you wrote 450 words when the maximum word count for a supplemental essay was 650 words, it’s a mistake. If you wrote about your come-from-behind run in the 400 meters, it’s a mistake. If you came across as unlikable, it’s a mistake. The list goes on…and on.
So now that your application is dead or near-dead at your Early Decision or Early Action school (though there are things you can do if you were deferred and we can certainly help you), the time has come for your autopsy by The Ivy Coach. We will dissect your application. We will tell you the cause — or causes — of death. And we will tell you how your death can be avoided at your Regular Decision schools, where there is indeed still hope. You made the mistake of not working with The Ivy Coach before you applied to your Early Decision or Early Action school. Don’t make the same mistake this time around. Not everyone gets a second chance…at life. Use it wisely.
As an aside, we have a little experience with real-life (or fake!) autopsies as well and since The Ivy Coach is a family business, we figured we’d share! There was an ABC series that aired for three years starring Dana Delany named “Body of Proof.” The show was about a brain surgeon who lost dexterity in her hand as a result of a car accident. Because of the accident, she could no longer operate on the living as a brain surgeon and so she retrained as a medical examiner to operate on the dead. The idea and the title for the successful ABC series was Brian’s. Hey, he likes to dabble in Hollywood from time to time. Everyone has their passions, right? When we say that you should work with talented writers on your admissions essays, we mean it. We can help make your writing stronger. We can make it more compelling. We can make it more colloquial. We can turn you into better, more powerful writers. It’s what we do.
Deferred applicants should not sit back and do nothing. They should hustle. But they need to hustle smartly. At The Ivy Coach, we help students hustle smartly every year to turn their deferrals into offers of admission.
We’ve got some advice for deferred applicants. If you applied for admission during the Early Decision or Early Action round and were neither admitted nor denied, you were placed into limbo. Just as Regular Decision has the waitlist, you were essentially waitlisted. It’s the Early equivalent of the waitlist. At most highly selective colleges, around 10% of deferred students earn admission to the school that deferred them. So how do you get to be among the 10% of applicants who turn that deferral into an admission, you ask? In life — and in highly selective college admissions — the answer is not by doing nothing. You’ve got to hustle. And you’ve got to hustle the right way because foolish hustle won’t help you one bit.
For starters, you need to write a letter of enthusiasm. This is a one page letter to the college that deferred you that expresses your continued interest in attending the university. Ideally, the letter discusses what you can bring to the university, what you’ve been up to, and why you’re the perfect fit for their institution. The letter should contain no brags. The letter should be exceptionally written. And the letter should help to sway admissions officers to want to go to bat for you in the Regular Decision round. After all, you showed your commitment to the university during the Early round. You want to inspire them to show their commitment to you in the Regular Decision round. But having sour grapes won’t help. Only by continuing to demonstrate why they should admit you do you have a chance to be among the 10% who turn that deferral into an offer of admission.
We help students year after year turn their deferrals into offers of admission. We help students craft extremely compelling letters that don’t rehash everything that their applications already conveyed. Rather, they offer new information, information that will indeed help their candidacies. So often parents tell us that their children have already written these letters, that they’ve got it covered. Oh really? They’ve strung together 500 words on the page? That’s remarkable. But who says those 500 words strung together are any good? In most cases — in almost all cases — they are generally the opposite of what students should convey. Our students don’t make this mistake. If interested in our assistance with letters of enthusiasm, reach out to us today by filling our our consultation form. Time is of the essence to get these letters in.
If your child was deferred or denied at his or her Early school, it would be beneficial to conduct a post-mortem with us on their application so the same mistakes aren’t made again.
If you applied Early Decision or Early Action to a highly selective college and were either deferred or denied admission, it would be a very good idea to sign up for a consultation with The Ivy Coach so that we can let you know reasons you likely did not get in. We can inform you of mistakes that you made on your application, in your Personal Statement, in your supplemental essays, etc. as you don’t want to be making the same mistakes again…and again…and again. Because that would be quite foolish!
During this consultation, we will go through the various components of your application and pinpoint the errors you made. We will also brainstorm changes with you and potential new directions for essays, as time permits. Maybe a mistake was an arrogant remark in an essay that you didn’t realize could come across as bragging. Maybe your Personal Statement was all about an activity that you participate in — which is not what a Personal Statement should be. Maybe you checked a box on the application that you should not have checked. Maybe you repeated information in your essays, as though admissions officers had very bad memories. Or maybe you just didn’t come across as likable in your application. It’s entirely possible.
There will, in all likelihood, be “aha” moments during this consultation and while you may be kicking yourself for making these mistakes for your Early Decision or Early Action school, at least you won’t be kicking yourself again and again for your Regular Decision schools. Making the same mistake again and again is a very bad idea. So, if you’re interested in this Early Decision or Early Action post mortem, fill our our consultation form today. Indicate that you’re interested in an Early Decision or Early Action post-mortem.