Color-coding 2021 admissions

With all the deferrals and delays, many students are just getting started. They're finally getting news from colleges, but there are still plenty of schools they haven’t heard from.


In other years, my CRM creates a spreadsheet that gives a clear overview of who got in and who didn’t. While there is never certainty of what the outcomes will be, this crazy year went beyond the limits of my software. I want my data to be deep because my colleagues and I agreed to share all our findings (anonymously, of course) when this application cycle ends. So I started an Excel spreadsheet and added all my seniors--both the comprehensive package students and the essays/applications kids I developed relationships with--and after adding columns for high school, ED, EA, rolling, and RD, I color-coded it:


  • Green (admitted)

  • Red (not offered admission)

  • Orange (deferred)

  • Yellow (waitlisted)

  • Brown (refusing waitlist offer)

  • Purple (admitted after deferral)

  • Black (denied after deferral)

  • Scholarships awarded (Blue)

  • Waiting for financial package (Gray)

  • Test-optional for all schools/test optional for some (no color-too complicated/indicated one college at a time)


Yes, 2021 applicants had--and continue to have--more decisions to make as they consider each of their colleges. They have to continue being patient. But as decisions roll in and I review the spreadsheet today, here are some positives (and we’re nowhere near done):


  • More green than red

  • More brown than yellow

  • Not many waitlists (meaning: more brown than yellow)

  • Lots of blue


Speaking of blue, a good number of students are being offered scholarships. Many accepted students are still waiting on merit awards (come on, Clemson). Colleges have to compete for your strong students. Recognize that despite feeling that you have no control, you have the ultimate power by making the decision to commit to one school, to get the greatest value possible when colleges try to “yield” your student. And please, don’t forget the most important factor--it’s not a variable--”fit.”


Stay focused, stay positive! Looking forward to adding more green!



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