Early start ratings are out, at least for the Pacific Northwest Section of the USTA, and for some, getting bumped up is a cherished accomplishment that validates the effort made in improving their game, but for others, it is an unwanted burden of having to play (and lose more than win?) at the next level up. If you fall into the latter camp, or even the former camp but still want to play at the lower level, there is a process for appealing the early start rating.
As I understand it, an automatic appeal will be granted if one's rating is within a tolerance of the bottom of the rating they are in. For folks 60 and over, it is 0.10 and for everyone else I believe it is 0.05. Thus, if you were a 4.0 rated player (actual rating in the range of 3.51-4.0) and are now a 4.5 (4.01-4.5) on the early start list, if your actual rating is 4.01-4.05 you should be able to appeal down.
A side effect of this is that if your appeal is successful, you pretty much know what your actual rating was (within 0.05). And if it is denied, you know your rating is at least above the threshold. For my ratings, knowing this type of information is invaluable as it allows me to tune and recalibrate player's ratings which in turn will make estimates going forward more accurate.
So, if you appeal your rating, or know anyone that has, please leave a comment to this post or contact me to let me know the result. By doing so, you'll make the ratings I publish more accurate in the future and everyone can benefit from that.
Thanks for your help!