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Deferral rates have increased in recent years as more and more students apply to college. However, there’s still a chance of getting accepted during the regular decision cycle. There are several steps that students can take after a deferral to improve their chances with admission offices. In this blog post, we will discuss what to do next if you’ve been deferred from your top choice school.

What is a Deferral?

A deferral is when a student is not accepted to a school and is instead put on a waitlist. The waitlist lists students who were not accepted in the early round but may be accepted if spaces are available in the regular decision cycle.

Why Students Get Deferred

There are many reasons why students get deferred in the early round. Admission offices may want to see grades from the fall semester before making an admissions decision. Or the school needs more time to decide on your application within the context of the regular applicant pool – often, this is a result of schools considering their Institutional needs as part of the process. It is possible that a deferral can be what we call a  “courtesy decision “to let certain types of applicants down easily.  We have seen this in some legacy or donor cases.

1. Evaluate: What is the college asking from you?

If deferred, you may submit additional information to provide insight into your application. This could include recommendation letters, updates on activities and extracurriculars, and/or a deferral letter. This information should not be submitted if a college explicitly states they do not accept application additions. Follow the school’s instructions in your letter in a timely manner. 

2. Compose a deferral letter: 

In some cases, the school may explicitly request you to write a deferral letter. Some colleges want to know that you are still committed to attending their school. This is an excellent opportunity for you to express why the school is a great fit for you and confirm your continued desire to attend. Remain upbeat and hopeful in your delivery, no matter how disheartened the situation may make you feel.

  • Genuinely show your commitment to the school.
  • Update the school on any new achievements or progressions since applying 
  • Remain upbeat in your delivery 
3. Determine if the school is still your top choice: 

Upon receiving a deferral, it may be wise to re-evaluate and re-visit the school if you can. Does the deferment change how you feel about the school? Find someone whose opinion you trust & value so that you can talk it out. Weigh out the pros and cons and remain practical in your thought process. 

4. Send additional test scores or grades: 

Ensure the admission offices receives all updated test scores and mid-year grade reports before March 1st. 

5. Continue to apply to your regular decision schools and focus on your backup plan: 

Although you are focusing on your early decision deferral take some time to re-visit and perfect your regular application submissions! Take the time needed to respond to your deferral in the appropriate manner, but do not dedicate all of your time to it. There are many other schools on your list that need attention. Although you might have your “dream school”, there are likely multiple schools on your list that would be wonderful fits as well. Once you’ve done everything you can do it is important not to lose sight of all the other amazing opportunities that await you! Continue to apply and remember that if you have built a balanced list you will find the college for you!

If you would like help addressing a deferral decision, contact us to learn more about Deferral Consultations.