College App Essays, Interviews, Common App — Decisions are Days Away

Counting down the minutes till Early Decisions

Ready or not, the next few days will bring news to tens of thousands of students who applied Early Decision or Restricted Early Action to hundreds of colleges and universities.

YES decisions will thrill thousands and NO’s will disappointment many thousands more. And Deferrals will leave many students in limbo.

The more selective the college you’ve applied to, the more likely you are to be in the “disappointed” category, and the more likely you will need to go to Plan B. Or Plan C.

Plan B: Apply to additional colleges AND review your Common Application Essay. You ARE permitted to revise it for colleges you have not yet applied to.

Plan C. Consider your deferral. Do you want to take on additional activities for a letter you can write to that college in February? See below.

Many students are already working on essays for alternative colleges, if their ED or REAX choice is a NO or a DEFERRAL. Most regular decision deadlines are January 1 or soon after.

If you or someone in your family is waiting for an ED or REAX decision, it’s good to be realistic about what lies ahead. And to make a plan in case there’s bad news. If you’re the parent of a student who has his/her/their heart set on a particular college, keep in mind that there are hundreds more wonderful colleges out there. Keep in mind that if the student is rejected or deferred, a few hours or days of mourning are OK, but then it’s on to the other applications.

If a student is deferred and wants to continue to be considered, the student should plan to write a letter in February that updates the application activities and reiterates the student’s interest in that college. And if they are ardent about the place, they should plan to do a few things in the intervening months — independent projects, online courses, etc. — to show their motivation and intellectual curiosity.

If the student is rejected from the first-choice college in mid-December, believe or not, there is plenty of time — working hard — to write additional essays.

Last year, two families contacted me on Christmas Day — one on Christmas night — because their sons had been rejected from Stanford earlier in the month. They both had 12 additional colleges to apply to — and about 25 pieces of writing. Don’t be those people! We worked and worked and worked. Both students got into fabulous colleges, but it was all-consuming and highly stressful.

Plan ahead. Don’t let the disappointment consume you or your applicant.

Please feel free to contact me ahead of time or soon after decisions come in. I’m on the East Coast and will be working throughout December into early January.

Email:  or Phone: 1-885-99-ESSAY