They say the early bird catches the worm.
You had your Common App essay done before summer break.
You were the first one in line to ask for your teacher and counselor recs.
You were sitting for your ACT and SAT while your peers were still thinking about their PSAT scores.
You were hitting “submit” on your applications while your friends were arguing which Stranger Things character they would be for Halloween.
And, after all of that preparation and early planning, the day has arrived when you will catch your worm.
But, unfortunately, that’s not how it always plays out.
Not exactly the outcome you had hoped for but certainly a better “D” word than you could have received in your admission status. Even so, it’s hard to look on the bright side when you’ve worked so hard to show your dream school that they’re the only one for you. So what can you do? Well, you’re in luck. We just happen to have an amazing team here at Estrela who have successfully navigated these waters with students in the past and we have some great tips just for you:
1) Figure out what they want...or don’t want!
Review the deferral notification carefully! Does the school welcome additional information? Do they specify how they want to be contacted? Check the admission section of the school website to make sure you are following directions. Additional information (if welcomed by the school) could include:
- newly joined clubs or new leadership positions in existing clubs or sports
- any honors or achievements earned since your application was submitted
- a role in the school play
- publication of written work through local, regional, or national writings
- a portfolio (Note: if you are a visual or performing arts students and you did not submit an optional portfolio on the app, this is critical at this point!)
- an updated resume
- an additional letter of recommendation, if requested, from someone unexpected who is not saying the same thing already noted in the original application
- updated ACT, SAT or SAT Subject test scores
- an extra essay on "Why (insert school name)" if it was not a part of the original application.
2) Show them the love.
Contact your admission counselor in writing and let him or her know of your interest in the college. If it’s truly your number one choice and you would absolutely enroll if accepted, tell them that. If you are at all uncertain, do not make such a statement! Be sure not to overcontact or harass the admission counselor and stay away from communication that sounds desperate. Sending chocolates or flowers will NOT get you the fat envelope.
3) Don’t let senioritis set in.
Finish up strong with your first semester grades! The school will want to see how you are handling your senior year coursework, so submitting first semester grades that exceed the initial set of transcripts that accompanied the application will be a boost. Be sure to ask your school counselor to send any updated academic info to your schools. Remember: one of the most perpetuated myths about the application process is that senior year doesn’t matter. Don’t fall prey to this! Even students who have been admitted can have their acceptances revoked if their grades aren’t on par with those they submitted with their applications.
4) Take a trip.
If you have yet to visit your dream school, and if your family finances allow it, take this opportunity to get on campus. It may be hard for an admission rep to feel your genuine interest in their school if you have not yet stepped foot on campus. As most admission re-evaluations will take place by mid-March, it’s important to schedule these visits before then. Also, be sure you are not just showing up on campus but actually scheduling an appointment with the admission office.
5) Don’t let this define you.
Most importantly, don’t lose hope or put all of your self-worth into whether you are ultimately accepted by a school. Yes, we know it’s easy for us to say this since we’re not the ones applying. However, we truly believe that admission decisions are not arbitrary and are made with intent and a great deal of thought. We also believe they don’t define you. College admissions is competitive, but so are many things in life. Stay positive and know that this is just one of many hurdles you’ll have in your life. Know that you are more than a college admission decision.
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