Applying Early Means Getting Decisions Early
Applying by early application deadlines is an important and strategic component of your application strategy. While it is important to apply to at least one school early, it is equally important to have a plan for what you will do with the decision. One of the questions I field most often is what do these decisions really mean. Understanding this context can ultimately inform your response.
While accept is self explanatory, it is worth unpacking. It is a testament to your hard work throughout high school From your thoughtful decisions around course selection to your long hours studying to your diligence with preparing for standardized tests. This is a great opportunity to reflect on all of those choices and celebrate your enormous accomplishment. With that said, I would like to share an important reminder about being accepted: “with great power comes great responsibility” (thank you Spiderman). Students who receive an early acceptance still need to keep up the hard work. An acceptance is not permission to breath a sigh of relief and kick your feet up, and say “I’m done!” It’s important to remember “the admission gods giveth, and taketh away”. Meaning, schools can rescind your offer of admission.
WHAT DOES DEFERRED MEAN?
Let’s start with deferral. Many like to equate this to the waitlist decision in the regular decision process. This couldn’t be FARTHER from the truth. A deferral is often an indication that a student was on the cusp of admission or denial. Something in the student’s application gave the admission committee pause–like questions about grades or maybe a hesitancy about test scores. Any issue that the committee is concerned about can be remedied! Contact the school to learn about opportunities to visit campus; work a little harder (or smarter) in class to get those grades up; register for another standardized test (and study for it).
DENIED. Who loves rejection? Right…no one. This is a very tough pill for anyone to swallow. In my experience the immediate reaction I hear from students involves some amount of self-judgement. Something akin to “I’m not good enough.” While this is a normal reaction, it could not be farther from the truth. There could be any number of reasons why a student was denied admission. I would say that the number one reason a student was denied has more to do with the competitiveness of the applicant pool and not the student’s qualities. Sometimes it is about “fit”.
Understanding what these decisions mean is important, and so is applying to a balanced list of schools. No matter what, it’s important to remember two things. First, the college admission process is a journey, not a destination (thank you Aerosmith). It should not come to define you nor the future you aspire for. Second, you are not alone on this journey. There are many around you to help, including me. Contact me today!