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:
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.
During the admissions season, students’ stress tends to run dangerously high. What with classes, standardized tests, sports, clubs, and all of the other distractions of daily life occurring at once, it sometimes can appear as if the average student is being overloaded with time commitments. Even outside of the application/admissions season, many students find themselves working at breaking point. While this type of stress is unhealthy, a certain level of pressure is nearly unavoidable when trying to make sense of the enigmatic admissions game. Throughout all of this, it is important to remember one key philosophy: keep everything in perspective.
Nearly every student attending a public school has encountered it; you go to have a meeting with your guidance counselor, and they’re already busy with another student. You may be waiting for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes, perhaps even more, but the door of your guidance counselor remains shut. What’s taking them so long? Doesn’t your guidance counselor know that you sit outside, waiting to pour over your schedule and college options?
The fact of that matter is that the majority of guidance counselors are gravely overworked. It is difficult enough to manage your own college application; imagine handling many more (possibly hundreds more), keeping all of the information straight, remembering to make the right calls, attending all of the meetings, creating schedules, and performing all of your job’s other duties.
What does this tell us about the college application system for public schoolers?*
I recently wrote an article featured on College Thrive about the benefits of a liberal arts education for prospective employers. In this article I talked about how liberal arts coursework will help you hone the broader (but vital) skills of communication, writing, and research. Despite this, many high school students do not consider liberal arts schools, because they lack the flashy name of more well-recognized institutions.
But by discounting the value of liberal arts colleges, students are missing a great opportunity for a truly special academic experience.