Can I Rewrite My Common Application Essay after ED Rejection/Deferral?

You have to get back in the game!

If you’re a senior in high school applying to college – or live in a household where someone else is – this coming week may be the most stressful of the process to date. This is the infamous “mid-December” when tens of thousands of students will hear from first-choice colleges and universities about EARLY DECISION and EARLY ACTION applications.

Of course, everyone wants good news. But no matter how you do the math, there will be plenty of not such great news coming to many. When colleges admit 5 or 10 or 15 percent of the applicants, the remaining 95, 90, or 85 percent will get NO or MAYBE (deferral).

What to do when that happens?

1. Do the math again and nod your head. The numbers tell the story.

2. Recognize that you have A LOT of company in the same situation.

3. Grouse, grumble, curse the gods, the SAT, the GPA, the kid next door, your 10th grade physics teacher – whatever and whoever you want – and then pick yourself up and get back in the game.

I am constantly impressed and amazed by the students I work with and the lessons they’ve learned by the time I encounter them: they know that hard work, resilience, patience and doing it all over again pay off. Some learn these lessons on the football field, some in the school orchestra, and others in a science lab.

If you’re turned down from the college you had your heart set on, give yourself a day of mourning and then get back to work. If you have been deferred, turn your attention to the other colleges on your list, and return to the deferred college with a list of suggestions once you’ve applied elsewhere (see my suggestions from last year here.)

One question students and their parents often have at this point is: CAN I REVISE MY COMMON APPLICATION FOR OTHER COLLEGES? The good news is YES – IF you have not already submitted an application to that college.

From the Common App website:

Is there a limit to the number of edits I can make to my personal essay once I’ve submitted an application?

You are allowed unlimited edits to the essay after your first application submission.

To edit your personal essay, go back into the Common App tab and click on the Writing section. Simply click the “Edit” link to start the process. Be sure to save any changes by clicking “Continue” when you’re finished.
Many people contact me at this time of year – when they’ve been turned down or deferred at first-choice colleges – and they’re scrambling to get new application essays ready for January 1 deadlines.  Please send me an email or phone (East Coast time, please!) and I’d be happy to help you get through this period:  1 855-99-ESSAY

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