It's still early, but following acceptances
What's different this year? Obviously everything. But I hope to quell some of the anxiety by sharing what I'm seeing with my students and hearing from colleagues about theirs.
Yield is everything! Colleges need to believe you will enroll if they admit you--or they'll likely defer. For the first time, students are being deferred at colleges where they are even slightly above the profile. The deferral rate grew last year and continues to do so. Why?
More applications are being submitted than ever because of test-optional policies, and colleges need to see regular decision applications to manage where their money is going. That means being patient.
Deferred? While you can't count on being admitted in the spring, you are a strong applicant or you would have been denied--especially with all those additional applications. And let's see what happens with waitlists!
My goal is to help you manage your expectations. We are seeing many, many denials of students with perfect numbers and amazing extracurriculars at the most competitive colleges. While this is not a new development, it seems more prevalent (add it to the list of why people are more anxious and disappointed this year). It's so important for students to understand that they should never take this personally--and that taking admission to these colleges for granted is the real issue. If that sounds like you, read this response to a despondent student in a spring 2019 NYT The Ethicist column: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/30/magazine/almost-all-the-colleges-i-wanted-to-go-to-rejected-me-now-what.html
At this point, I'm still gathering information about applying test optionally. If schools are truly test-blind (the California system has been charged by state government to not look at any scores), not submitting scores should have no impact. However, most colleges are not test blind, and they have one less variable to consider while they sift through that larger-than-ever number of applications.
As I learn more, I'll share more. Please stay in touch and let me know of acceptances--and awards!