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You've Been Deferred. Now what?


So you finally received the letter in the mail.  You applied early to your favorite schools and you thought your college admission process would be done by the end of December.  But the letter you received isn’t a straight acceptance or rejection, it is somewhere in the middle.  You have been deferred.  What do you do now?
Take a deep breath:  I know it is frustrating not to have a definite answer, but the good news is that you still have a shot at being admitted.  Some colleges defer students because they simply could not make a decision at the time the application was submited.  They may want to compare your application with regular decision applicants just to see how you shape up with the rest of the applicant pool.  Other times colleges deferred you because they are seeking additional information.  Either way, here are a few tips to help you put your best foot forward, again….

  1. Find out why. Call the admissions office and ask to speak with the admissions officer who is in charge of your application.  This person will have them most accurate account of why you were deferred.  Make sure and be polite and ask if there is a reason why you were deferred.
  2. Submit updated grades. Most students are deferred because there was a grade on their first quarter grade report that the college was concerned about.  Make sure and submit an official mid-year grade report (hopefully showing an upward trend).  If you are still struggling the class ask the teacher to write you a letter of recommendation.  The letter should illustrate all of the steps you have taken to improve your grade (i.e. tutoring, seeking help with questions outside of class, etc.)
  3. Submit additional letters of recommendation. It is fine to ask teachers, counselors, employers, etc. to send additional letters of recommendation to the college.  These letters should not only talk about your interest in the college, but what you will add to the campus.
  4. Tell them about any new awards or recognitions. If you have received an award or recognition since you submitted your application, tell them about it!  This is not time to be modest!
  5. Continue to show interest. Colleges want to admit students who will definitely enroll in their institution, so it is important to continue to show interest in the school, even though you are disappointed.  You will definitely show interest by taking the initiative to find out why you were deferred and by submitting additional materials before the college asks you to.  You can also ask to do a phone interview, visit the school (only if you live close enough for it not be a great expense) and send an email or two (don’t send too many) to the admissions officer in charge of your application.
  6. Follow up. By the end of January, you should check in with the college and make sure they have all the information they need to make a final decision on your application.  Again, this is best done through the admissions officer who is directly in charge of your file.

Katherine Price
Educational Consultant
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