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College Talk Blog

The Agony of Deferrals, The Pain of Denials

The competitiveness of the college admissions process continues to escalate. Several factors contribute toward raising the bar of what's good enough to gain admission to your child's favorite college.
One of the factors increasing the minimum requirements needed for admission application success is economics. Upper income families feeling the pinch of the economy are encouraging their children to apply to top public colleges in their state to take advantage of quality education at in-state rates. Those same students might have gone to college out-of-state in prior years.  The desire of more families to get more quality for their money by sending their children to an in-state college is increasing the number of applications which increases competition. The policy and regulations for each state with regard to the number of in-state and out-of-state students they will accept also affects competition. Some states favor their own residents to such an extent that it is difficult for out of state students to enter their best state colleges.
Another factor making college admissions more competitive is that students are more qualified. Students are taking advantage of opportunities to increase their competitiveness by taking more challenging high school courses, earning college credit, taking the SAT or ACT several times and ramping up their student and community activity portfolios.
Other factors that can affect a student's chances include the quality of the admissions essay, taking advantage of opportunities to visit campus, participating in alumni interviews, the amount and level of earned recognition and leadership and a well developed special skill or ability.
Unfortuantely, students are unaware that the competition they face this year is
higher than what seniors at their school faced last year. Seniors who get deferred notices instead of an acceptance letter from what they thought was their safety school are devastated. Adding to their pain is the fact that they may see that they are academically more accomplished than another student who was admitted. It is important for a student to understand that colleges not only have academic benchmark targets but also demographic and geographic ones.
If you child has been deferred or denied at a college, help them understand that it is the college's loss. Your child is an amazing person with much to contribute.  Applying to 8-10 colleges of varying admissions competitiveness helps insure that there will be multiple acceptance letters in the spring. And as for those that did not offer admission to your child...it's their loss.

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