What Is a Deferral?
A deferral means that a college is simply saying “we are not sure yet.” Or likely “we want to compare the student with the rest of the applicants coming in the regular admission pool.” On a positive note, a deferral is a second chance at admission. A college might want to review the application again or take a look at the mid-year grades. If the student is on an upward trend with grades, particularly if taking demanding courses in senior year, it can make a difference in the final decision.
Deferral numbers differ from school to school, and many don’t make deferral statistics public. At highly selective institutions, it’s not unheard of to defer a majority of early applicants, as the early application pool is so competitive and it’s hard to pass up many well-qualified applicants.
What Should I Do After Getting Deferred?
- First, determine if that college is still a top-choice. Is your heart still in that college, or have you decided to move on and attend elsewhere? If so, write to the college, thank them for their consideration, and let them know that you are withdrawing your application.
- If still interested, find out what the college wants from you. Most schools will ask for mid-year grades, which is easy to request at the high school. Some colleges will allow you to send additional material such as videos, essays, and updates on the student’s activities. Some colleges will allow the student to submit a “letter of continued interest” or an additional letter of recommendation. We always check with the college before sending additional material.
- If appropriate, write a Letter of Continued Interest. Colleges want to admit students who they think will want to attend, so by writing a letter reaffirming their commitment to the college, students can improve their chances of admission. Students should reiterate their interest in the college, why they think they’re a good fit, and provide some updates on what they’ve been doing since they submitted their early application.
- Continue with regular decision applications. Don’t let your disappointment affect your other applications. Move on with your regular-deadline applications and do your best.
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