Deferral, what not to do, and all sorts of terrible ideas

The other day, I wrote an article about the admissions purgatory that getting deferred feels like. In short, getting deferred is not the end of the world, and actually offers you a few new opportunities and advantages that you would not have had if you just applied regular decision.  Deferral means you will have options and what you choose to do with these options is rather important (especially if you are interested in attending [insert college or university].  However, students under stress are known to make some impulsive (i.e.: unwise) choices that could actually hurt their application.  Some of these choices range from the remotely plausible to the absolutely absurd.  Lets take a look at some of the things that you should not do if you are deferred:

Send cookies/baked goods to the admissions committee

Some students swear by it and you will always meet someone who owes their college acceptance to the macadamia nut cookies they made, but honestly.  Now, I’m sure that the admissions committee appreciates a muffin just as much as anyone else, but culinary prowess will not push your application over the edge.

Send in an extra 5 recommendations

More is not always better, and this is the case with letters of recommendation.  Unless a new recommendation is going to talk about a different dimension of who you are or what you have accomplished, it is best to resist the urge.  Redundancy just means more clutter, and schools will be considering many, many applicants.

Call the admissions office every day

A phone call never hurts (notice the singular) and certainly can be more effective than an email.  However, deferral means that your application will be reconsidered in a few months, so why make a nuisance of yourself in that time in the eyes of the admissions committee?

Join a new extracurricular activity/start volunteering

I should clarify this by stating: if you really want to start playing cricket or want to volunteer at the petting zoo, then by all means, go ahead.  However, if you go into the activity thinking that this will reflect well on your application, you will be very much mistaken.  Sudden changes that happen 48 hours after you receive your deferred letter tend to be rather transparent and treated with skepticism.  Same thing goes with a sudden spiritual epiphany.

Stake out the Dean of Admissions’ house

Sure, this “worked” in The Office when Dwight and Michael staked out David Wallace’s home, but it is ill advised.  I guess there is a slight chance the he/she is impressed by your gusto, but you could also find yourself in the back of a police car.

The bottom line is that, while there are some proactive things you can do, when in doubt, it is best to do nothing. At the very least, you should run your idea by a few different people.

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