A lot of students this week got rejected from their early decision (ED) schools, and the heartbreak is horrible. Maybe it was a “reach” school, maybe it was Princeton or Harvard or Brown University, or maybe you just really, really wanted to go there from the time you were 8.

Getting rejected from your first choice college though, doesn’t mean you can’t still get in to a really good school — it does mean however, that you want to take a serious look (or have someone like me) take a serious look at your previous application and essays, to make sure you don’t make the same mistake TWICE.

Often, the essays are the reason people get rejected from their Early Decision schools, when everything else in their application (their stats, SAT scores, grades, extracurriculars, rec letters, etc) are stellar and up to par.  It comes down to the writing, and more specifically, usually your topic choice for the Common App essay, or way it is written.

This is good news and bad news.  The good news is, you can change or revise your essay now, before you submit to your other schools and make the same mistake twice.  The bad news is, you have to be confident enough to know that maybe you don’t know how an essay really “reads” via the college’s admission office, and you should seek out someone who does know how things work, so pure pride and “but I liked my essay” doesn’t get in your own way.

I will repeat myself: most often, when everything else in a student’s background is “good” or even “excellent” and at the level it needs to be for the school targeted, the reason for the college’s Early Decision rejection is The Common App Essay, and how it is written = not as good as you think.

So, my one piece of advice to any of you who were just rejected by your Early Decision school, and are now maybe panicking a little as you apply to your other schools, if you have the resources, take the time to reach out and have someone like myself (a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad) look over your “rejected” Early Decisions application, and tell you what you need to do or change, so you don’t get rejected again.

A huge number of my students go on to get in to ALL of their other schools.  The worst thing you can do if you were rejected my friends, is nothing.  If it didn’t work the first time, something needs to change.  My advice = figure out what that is.

A Early Decision rejection is a warning shot.  Heed it, and make the changes.  Otherwise, you’re only throwing the same dart at the college or even Ivy League college board, and just hoping it will stick.

[I’m a former Harvard interviewer and Harvard grad, and currently run the top Ivy League College Admissions Firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com out of Manhattan.  I work with the top students all over the world.  Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!]