Bradshaw College Consulting

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
I applied Early Action (EA) to Harvard and received word that I was deferred to Regular Action (RA) status. What are my chances of getting admitted, and is there anything I can do to move myself up on the list?



Don't give up even if you aren't accepted to college early



Dear Student,

Harvard admitted 939 EAs to the Class of 2021 out of 6,473 who applied, for an admission rate of 14.5 percent.

You will be evaluated all over again under RA, which last year had an admissions rate of 5.2 percent out of 39,000 applicants. That also means you will have to wait until April 1, or later to find out if you are admitted.

To understand the context of admission decisions at Harvard, it is important to understand where you fit into the admission pool. A lot will depend on your ethnic background and geographical location.

The Harvard Crimson reported that the College admitted 12.6 percent of African American applicants for the Class of 2021 this year. Asian American applicants represent 21.7 percent of the class, Latinos 8.8 percent, and Native Americans and Native Hawaiians represent 1.1 percent of the admitted pool,

Females represent 48 percent of the admitted students and the geographic distribution saw a slight increase in students from the Midwest.

If you are on the deferred list, you might still be accepted depending on the number of openings the school has left after admitted students confirm their decisions to attend. Deferred listing is a legitimate way to let students know that they will be reconsidered.

Most students who apply to top colleges typically apply to ten or more schools. The pool of applicants is astonishingly competitive and students making Harvard's deferred list would do well at other colleges, so do not stake all of your hopes on one college.

You ask what can you do to improve the odds of moving up on the list now that you have not been accepted in early admission. Colleges do not place students on a deferred list if there is not a realistic chance of getting admitted after a second round of evaluations, but this means students who want to remain on that list have work to do.

I suggest you send the Harvard Admissions Office a letter/email renewing your interest in the school and sharing any new milestones in your life since applying last fall. This information is often the deciding factor in deferred applications. Many applicants look stronger in the last semester of their senior year after receiving an academic award, finishing first in a national competition or being honored for an extra-curricular success. Colleges need to be notified about these honors or accomplishments.

In your letter it is important to emphasize Harvard is your first choice because you need to convince officials that if you are admitted, you will attend.

If possible, I recommend that you try and schedule an in-person interview with the admissions office and convince the officials of your sincerity. This is an aggressive move but especially helpful if you have strong interview skills.

Gerald Bradshaw is an international college admission consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting in Crown Point.

SKYPE: geraldbradshaw

Colleges and Universities, College Consulting, International Students

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