Getting Deferred in the Early Round is Not the End of the World; Here's What to Do
You did everything you were supposed to do: researched your dream school, visited campus, and sent in your application before the Early Decision/Early Action deadline. After all your hard work, you’ve gotten back a deferral. So what happens now?
A deferral is one of three outcomes possible from applying early: you can be accepted, rejected, or deferred. While the former two are guarantees of a yes or a no, a deferral is a bit hazier.
A deferred student’s application will be included in the regular round, and they are reconsidered in January. Though a deferral means you were not accepted in the early round, the admissions office is still interested in you and wants to review your materials again. To increase your chances of admission in the spring, create a plan of action that highlights why you would be an excellent addition to your top choice’s campus.
While it’s natural to feel bad about not getting in, don’t fret. If an admissions office wasn’t interested in you at all, they would have outright rejected you. There’s still hope, though you won’t know the official verdict until late March/early April. You can up your chances significantly in the regular decision pool by continuing to demonstrate your interest to your dream school.
Get in Contact
Your first step is to send a letter or email to the admissions representative who reads the applications from your high school. In this letter, make it clear that this school is your top choice and, if applicable, that you will enroll if admitted. Back up your stated interest with concrete reasons and details that appeal to you, such as specific programs, courses, professors, or opportunities that interest you. This shows that you’ve done your homework and are truly dedicated to that particular school. Finally, add in any additional achievements that you may have earned since you sent in your application. While larger accomplishments (like winning an award) are obviously important, also consider smaller triumphs (like improving your grade in a class you previously struggled in).
Ask for Help
Use your resources to understand how you can better stand out in the regular decision pile in January. Ask your guidance counselor if there are any additional materials (such as updated transcripts, test scores, or recommendation letters) that could be sent out on your behalf. Make sure you ask a guidance counselor first so that you don’t inundate the admissions office with documents they don’t want or need. If necessary, ask your guidance counselor, favorite teacher, supportive coach, or employer for another letter of recommendation. Make sure this person has something truly unique to say about you that adds to your overall application.
If you were planning on coasting through the rest of senior year, think again. Take the time to research job or internship opportunities that you can add to your resume. Be sure to update the admissions office with your new activities, because it shows that you are taking the rest of the year seriously while gaining valuable experiences that can help your stand out as a candidate for the incoming freshman class.
Remember, a deferral to your top choice is not the end of the world. While it can be a bit of a letdown to not have an acceptance in hand, a plan of action can improve your chances for the outcome you want. Take a deep breath, review your options, and keep working towards your ultimate goal: getting a seat in your best-fit school.