What To Do If Deferred in Early Admissions

First, if you have been deferred from a college, here is what not to do: nothing.

This is no time to be sitting around merely worrying and hoping. This is a time for action. It is not too late. The goal of every college application should be to stand out in a positive way. That goal does not change after a deferral. If your application is just sitting in a pile somewhere, chances are that it is not going to stand out. You can do something about that. Try one or more of the following:

-- It has been several months since you sent in your application. Have you had any positive news since then? Have you won any awards, or had a poem published, or become captain or editor? Let the admissions office know.

-- If you have no news to share, make some. Sign up for an elective term course. Submit poems to newspapers, magazines, and contests. Try to get elected or appointed to a leadership position in an extra-curricular activity. Volunteer for a charitable activity outside of school – at a hospital or nursing home or Habitat for Humanity or the like. In some way, add another activity or appointment to your schedule. When you do, let the admissions office know.

-- Call the admissions office and let them know that you care enough about your candidacy to get in touch and to update your application. Tell them about what you have been doing and what good things have happened since your application was submitted. Let them know what you have to offer them and why they will be glad that they accepted you. Let them know that they are number one, that if you are accepted, you will attend. Give them a voice to attach to the name on your application, a personality, a life full of good cheer, a basketful of reasons to put you in the “admit” pile. If possible, speak with the representative who covers your area. In whatever way possible, make that rep your advocate.

Again, the goal is to stand out. The overwhelming majority of deferred candidates will do nothing. They will not call. They will not update their application. They will not show in any conspicuous manner – other than what they said in their initial application – that they care about getting admitted. You can be different…you can stand out…you can show that you really care. Start by sharing your good-news update.


What 7th Grade Students and Their Parents Must Know About College Admission

Is 7th Grade too early to be thinking about getting into college? Yes and no.

Middle school students have plenty on their plates. And kids should be allowed to be kids.

Yet, one particular item on that plate should be of interest to both the students and their parents: the courses in the immediate academic future, that is, 8th and 9th Grade. In many schools, especially private schools, students may take full-credit, high school math and foreign language courses in the 8th Grade, such as Algebra and a first-year in foreign languages like Spanish, French, Latin, German, or, increasingly these days, Chinese. Parents of 7th Graders should be aware of the offerings available to their children in the following year and should determine if taking high school courses in the 8th Grade is a viable option. Are the students qualified? Is it up to the school or the family to place the child?

At stake here is getting a good jump on the curriculum so that later in high school, the student will have some flexibility to take more advanced courses, such as advanced placement offerings, “AP” courses. For example, a student interested in math who takes Algebra in the 9th Grade probably will not have an opportunity to take AP Calculus in the 12th Grade because the prerequisites generally include Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre Calculus – courses that would be slated for the 10th, 11th, and 12th Grades, thus leaving out AP Calculus. If, however, Algebra were taken in the 8th Grade instead of the 9th Grade, the sequence would permit AP Calculus in the 12th Grade. A similar scenario would play out for a foreign language.

Since college admissions officers look very carefully at the transcript of a candidate, they will notice if the student has exhausted a particular discipline – like math. One of the first questions that college admission readers ask when reviewing an applicant’s folder is: has this student challenged himself? The applicant who has a transcript full of AP courses and who has a 12th Grade schedule of high-level courses in each discipline, will stand out in a very positive way. The admissions office would likely have little doubt that the student not only has embraced an academic challenge already, but also will be able to manage college level work in the year to come.

So, 7th Grade students and their parents would be well advised to look ahead to the curriculum available in 8th and 9th Grade – and beyond. The course selections in 8th Grade, especially in math and foreign language, may affect significantly the options in high school and college.