One of the most brilliant people I met at HYPSM was deferred Early. He was taking the hardest courses in all subjects, and rocking out in a band on the side. I was shocked, because it seemed like he was excelling freshman year whereas I was struggling to stay afloat, but I was admitted EA. He seemed to take his rejection in stride – “I’m here anyway, so whatever, it’s in the past.” Hopefully, that’ll be you in a few months. Like everything else in college admissions, it’s ultimately a toss-up, and not being admitted could just be a function of where you’re from.
So breathe. It’s going to be okay no matter what and there’s still Regular Action. Here’s what you should do in the meantime:
- Assess whether your rejection means something. You should reassess your application and essays if:
- Other students from your high school or area were admitted EA to the college you applied to and they’re packaged similarly as you (e.g., also a STEM-focused person, or an award winning dancer and singer)
- Nobody else from your area applied to your EA college but you were still rejected.
- Differentiate yourself from the people who DID get in. It’s about standing out. Of course, it’s too late to redo your years of high school, but you can repackage yourself differently. Maybe you sold yourself as a future research neuroscientist who is intent on getting a Ph.D. and becoming a professor. If other research-oriented people got in, you can spin your scientist nature as caring about helping others, and you see neuroscience as a way to improve people’s well-being. Or maybe you’re someone who got interested in neuroscience because of your dancing lessons and became fascinated by the connection between brain and body. Be creative!
- Send in the mid-year update, and add a new dimension that wasn’t there before. Ideally you have a new major award like STS, but if you don’t, at least add a different dimension to your application. Talk about how you participated in choir for the first time, if that wasn’t part of your original application, to show that you’re eager to try new things. Write about your new blog or your newfound interest in snails.
- Of course, apply to a wider range of schools than you originally intended to. Don’t be too proud to apply to safeties so you know you’ll have options. There’s also schools with ED round 2, if that’s the path you’d like to take.
Don’t dwell on the rejection, because there’s still time to make a difference in your regular action application. Remember, a majority of the freshman class is accepted in the regular round. If you’re still feeling sad, read these profiles of people who were ultimately rejected from all of HYPSM but ended up happy. You’re gonna be okay!