Seeing Red and Feeling Blue About Brown: Chris Lynch ’04 Continues College Search

The following article is the second part of an annual series that follows a particular Phillips Academy Senior throughout the college admissions process. The thick envelope Brown University Early Decision applicant Chris Lynch ’04 had been expecting did not arrive over the holiday break, as the college’s admission committee voted to defer its decision on his application until April. Although Lynch was hoping for an acceptance to Brown, he said that his deferral did not come as much of a surprise, as he and his college counselor, Meg Harlan, had classified Brown as one of his “reach” schools. Lynch also said he knew that 65 percent of the letters mailed to Early Decision applicants contained deferral notices. After sending Mrs. Harlan an e-mail to notify her of his admissions decision, Lynch knew he had to get to work on applications to other schools. Regular applications were due between the 1st and the 15th of January, and Lynch had yet to start them before receiving the news from Brown. “I had planned [the applications] out, but not finalized them. Mrs. Harlan and I, however, had covered what I had to take care of during break, so everything was all set,” Lynch said. “Mrs. Harlan has been very helpful, and I’ve been to see her probably more that I should have,” he said. Fortunately for Lynch, most of the colleges on his wish list, which includes the University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis, Tufts, Wesleyan, University of Southern California, Occidental, Trinity and Kenyon, require the Common Application, so he was able to re-use essays more than once. However, Lynch had to write supplements for some colleges from scratch. In particular, the University of Chicago application was entirely different from the rest of the schools. Although Lynch’s deferral did not change his regular application list, it became an incentive for him to be extra careful on his other applications. “I must have proofread those essays a hundred times,” he said. Lynch describes his choice-colleges as “generally liberal arts colleges” which would give him the variety he needs, as he remains unsure as to what area of study he would like to specialize in. Out of the remaining schools, Lynch’s first-choice is the University of Chicago, which he and Mrs. Harlan had also classified as a reach. “The city is beautiful, and the students seem really focused,” he said. “It’s a great learning climate.” Wesleyan and Washington University also rank among Lynch’s favorites, because of the opportunities for exploration they offer. Lynch also loved the Trinity, Wesleyan and Tufts campuses. While admissions committees review his regular applications, Lynch will also be working on polishing his Brown folder to enhance his chances of regular admission. He is planning to send additional material, such as another essay, graded work, and a singing tape. Lynch would also like to arrange for an interview, which he had requested earlier, though Brown never responded to his request. Three weeks after receiving his admissions decision, however, Lynch is able to look back on the deferral letter positively “At least now I have the advantage of choice, and people have been telling me that being deferred is no big deal,” he said. “I can still get in and, anyway, I would love to go to any of the schools I’m applying to!”