Deferred. As admissions committees toil among the thousands of applications, many students will be getting envelopes that are just a bit too thin. For some students, this can mean outright rejection, but for others it means deferral. Deferral is often misunderstood, which is a shame, because it can create a new opportunity for students.
However, deferral does seem an awful lot like rejection. Most of the letters will bluntly say something like:
while you were qualified, the applicant pool was very competitive this year. Therefore, your application will be deferred until this spring.
Disappointing? Yes. Potentially heartbreaking? Sure. But no, this admissions decision this is not the end of the world.
Before we talk about what your options are, lets properly define what a “deferral” exactly is. According to the Admissions360 Glossary, deferral refers to:
When you apply under any early admissions policy you can be deferred. Deferred is neither accepted nor rejected–the application will simply reevaluate your application with all of the Regular Decision applications. At most schools, this is the most common outcome of applying early. Getting deferred does not hurt your chances of admission. In fact, at some schools your RD will be looked upon more favorably, because an early application indicates a high level of interest in a school.
Thus, getting deferred is not getting rejected at all, even though it feels like it. Take solace in that fact that most applicants who apply under an early admissions policy will get deferred. It is just the admissions committee’s way of saying “You are qualified, but not a shoo-in, so we are going to take a look again in a few months.”
So once you are deferred, it is just like you applied regular decision to the school. You have a clean slate with your application. Actually, it is a bit better than a clean slate, because you applied early, put yourself out there, and showed that you were ready to commit to [Insert University or College]. This will certainly be positive for your application in the eyes of the admissions committee.
But what else can an applicant do while their application is essentially in application-purgatory?
The first thing any applicant should do in this position is to make sure the school in question has the most recent transcript. Students take the bulk of their AP classes senior year and an ‘A’ in AP Calculus or AP Spanish will surely help your cause.
In this vein, also take a look at your resume and review your activities and achievements. Have you won any awards? Have you gotten published? If so, make sure the school knows about them. If possible, include third-hand documentation (e.g.: an article in your local paper) about the accomplishment.
Extra recommendations are also something to consider, but students need to be careful not to overdo it and send in redundant recommendations. Unless, the recommender is going to write something that will “jump off of the page” or discuss something that your application does not reveal, then go for it. This is also the time to think about any relatives or friends of the family who are alums. A recommendation from an alumnus/alumna can help restate your interest in the school.
Finally, students can consider writing a telling, but concise, letter to the admissions committee (or better yet, an admissions counselor you have gotten to know) about why you want to attend their school. Be honest and to the point. Sincerity can go a long way in the admissions process.
Finally, don’t stress. You were a competitive enough applicant to get this far, so keep working hard on your other applications and in school. At this point that is all you can do in hopes of getting a fat envelope this spring. Best of luck.
As always send any questions, comments, or suggestions to admissions360 at gmail.com!
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