Tips for Handling the College Waiting Game

To the expectant students awaiting their first admissions decision this month,

We have some bad news. As you hear back from your early action and early decision colleges, the vast majority of you will not be accepted.

It's easy to forget just how competitive these schools are. There's a reason you applied early to a "reach" school - you wanted to see whether you had a shot, even though the chances were slim.  And as a result, the thing that we knew was coming - a rejection or a deferral - is going to hit your inbox or mailbox soon.

So why are we bumming you out a little early? To help you keep perspective. We want you to remember that college admissions is a marathon and not a sprint. You're going to hear back from many more schools, and just because the first school doesn't go your way does not mean it's time to panic.

When the dust clears in April and you hear back from the rest of your colleges, you will still have several excellent options where you can be happy and successful. So as the bad news rolls in, try to remember that it's all part of the process.

We would love to hear from you once you're ready to share the news.

Just to fill you and your family in -- here are some possible reasons why schools deferred you:

Reason 1. They had too many strong applicants in your major.

Reason 2. They had too many strong applicants from southern California.

Reason 3. They had too many strong applicants who were white males.

Reason 4. They had too many strong applicants from your high school.

Obviously, those things above are out of your control. Here are the possible reasons that are in your control:

Reason 5. They were worried about a particular component of your application.

What to do: You should ask whether there's anything you can send them to help confirm your application. This might be an additional letter of recommendation, evidence of a strong first semester, additional extracurricular achievements and awards, etc.

Reason 6. They wanted to see your interview report before deciding on you.

What to do: Get an interview for the regular decision process!

Obviously, it's not good to be deferred, but in this uncertain economic environment with different family situations, schools will take plenty of people off the "deferred" list.

Stay positive. We can get through this!