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If you decided to apply to college early decision or early action (ED/EA), you have the advantage of learning whether or not you have been accepted or rejected from your top-choice school in the beginning.
Now that December is here, it is the month that many students and parents will be expecting their ED or EA results to come rolling in. Families anxiously await the letter from a college that they applied early decision to, wondering whether their student was admitted or rejected to the campus.
(If you would like more information about what early decision or early action refers to, you can always read our previous blog article where we explain in detail the different types of college applications.)
But what exactly are you supposed to do when the results are neither of these options? Something that most students and parents typically do not prepare for is a university's decision of deferral.
In today's blog article, we want to help students and parents navigate the perplexing journey that accompanies those that have been deferred in their ED or EA results. We will explain:
What a college deferral means,
Why they occur, and;
The important steps that you should be taking to increase your chances of admission after receiving a deferral.
It can be distressing for many parents and students during this month of December as you all nervously wait for colleges to announce their ED or EA acceptance results. Either it can be an exciting time where you are admitted to the college of your choice, or it can be a devastating moment where you are denied admission. For the students that are facing neither of these choices, a deferral can seem ambiguous and disheartening nonetheless.
But do not handle a deferral result as a no from the university! Although it may seem like an exhausting time period in which you must wait another three months to hear your final college decision, there are various choices that you can do to strengthen your odds of being admitted after deferral.
To truly increase your chances of being accepted the second time around, you need to first understand what a deferral is.
What is a deferral?
Most of our parents and students are usually in shock when they receive a deferral result from their ED or EA application. This is normally because many families only see college applications as black and white - acceptance or rejection.
A deferral, your potential outcome number three, means that your student has a second opportunity at being granted admission to a college or university. Being deferred indicates that the university is delaying their admission decision on your application and will later reexamine yours alongside regular-decision student applicants. You will hear back from the university on the same date as regular-decision applicants (around March or April).
Want to know what colleges are looking for in students for 2020? Click here to read!
In other words, your ED or EA application has been converted to a regular application. You are no longer bound to the obligation of attending this university if they decide to ultimately admit you to their college and you are free to apply to other schools as you wish. You should always double-confirm that this case applies to you either by directly contacting the admissions office or asking your college guidance counselor.
For many students and parents, this deferral may feel as if you are living in a "limbo land". Others feel that this outcome essentially warrants a rejection from their top-choice university.
Although it is valid to feel disappointed and discouraged, you should still remain positive and impartial. This will ensure that you make the best of your current situation despite the non-ideal circumstances.
Why did my college application get deferred?
This is the big question that the majority of students and parents have when they receive a deferral result from a college.
For the greater part, the university's admission team was adequately impressed by your academic credentials that they are willing to reassess your application a second time, comparing yours to the larger regular-decision pool of students.
In most cases, students are deferred as to encourage them to provide supplementary materials, such as your final semester grades, for the purpose of assessing your academic growth during your high school senior year.
This is a good opportunity for you to present to the admission team any further or recent achievements, prizes, class grade advancements, and more! Utilize this second chance as an advantage to amaze the admission office with your latest scholastic progress.
What extracurriculars should you take that top schools will love? Find out in our blog here!
In addition to this reason, colleges might defer you because they require further time to evaluate your application amongst the context of the entire group of student applicants. These are ordinary individuals who want to create a well-balanced freshmen class for their university, so a deferral may be used to ensure that they can do that.
What are the next steps I should take to increase my chances of getting accepted after a deferral?
Step 1 - Reevaluate whether this school is still a top-choice.
Before following all the instructions in your deferral letter, you need to sincerely determine if this college is still a top choice for you. Maybe a few months ago this university was your first choice to go to, but that was a while back - does that still hold true for you?
You may even consider taking a tour or visiting the school that you were deferred from, if possible. By physically visiting (or re-visiting) the campus, you may take notice of the details that you may not like so much about the university. In other cases, if you fall in love all over again with the college, you will have a newfound motivation and perseverance to wow the admission team a second time around.
Overall, take the time to reconsider how you feel about the school that you were deferred from. Yes, it may feel disheartening and anxious to wait for a regular decision, but you may also find that this college may not be the better fit for who you are now from when you applied several months back.
Step 2 - Thoroughly follow the directions from the college admissions department.
Sometimes, they may ask that you submit additional material. If they specifically say not to send in any material, do not send any additional material. Read the deferral letter with your college guidance counselor if you need to ask for any clarification or questions.
Step 3 - If requested, send supplementary material.
If your deferral letter asks for additional material, such as mid-year grades, exam scores, or other details, be sure to update any necessary grades or transcripts in a timely manner.
Step 4 - Call the admissions office, if applicable.
For additional feedback or responses on why you were deferred, you can call the admissions office. After going over the details of your deferral letter and its content, your counselor should have the necessary knowledge of the school's protocols when it comes to these types of calls.
One essential rule-of-thumb when it comes to placing a call is that it should never be the parents calling in. Students that have a strong commitment to the university should be able to independently advocate for themselves in an articulate manner.
However, remember that this phone call may or may not have an impact on your final admission result.
Step 5 - Request an in-person interview, if possible.
If you are like me, in-person communication is more effective in relaying what I want to get across rather than a phone call.
An opportunity to talk face-to-face with someone from the admissions department will be helpful in understanding your deferral as well as to personally highlight your latest achievements.
Step 6 - Write a deferral letter.
All universities are looking for student candidates that truly want to attend their campus. Through writing a deferral letter, you are reaffirming your faithfulness and commitment to the school. Do the proper research to find out what the college is looking for in applicants, reiterate why you believe you fit this role, and incorporate all crucial updates since you submitted an ED or EA application.
This letter should provide the admission team with a look into your recent activities after the early application you have originally submitted. Think about any particular academic or extracurricular highlights you have accomplished during the rest of your senior year.
The admission team more than likely has an insane amount of applications to sift through, so carefully select what you want to share with the officer(s). You want to show off your improvements, but humbly.
Step 7 - Maintain and keep your grades up!
A deferral letter may be dispiriting for students, but do not let this result sidetrack you from the present. Many universities keep track and assess a student's first semester grades up to the end of their senior year.
You do not want the college to see your class grade slip up after your ED or EA application. Instead, you want to improve and illustrate to the admission team that you can successfully challenge yourself in difficult courses.
Step 8 - Have a contingency plan! Finish up your regular decision applications.
This is one of the most important steps that you should be taking if you receive a deferral result. Make sure that you have the right mix and a balanced number of schools where you will have a better likelihood of being offered admission.
Remaining hopeful of your deferral is a given, but you should not sacrifice back-up measurements or plans. You are a great student with a solid college application and a previous list of schools that you initially considered when you were deciding on where to submit your early application.
Take a look at that list again and see if any potential colleges match your interests and future career goals. Do not let the deferral discourage or hurt your chances of admission at other amazing colleges.
Step 9 - Give thanks.
If you are admitted to the college in March or April for regular-decision, be sure to follow-up with the admission member that you contacted to send them a thank you note.
These are the individuals that took additional time to help your future, and it is an important detail that many students tend to overlook after the whirlwind of application decisions.
Not sure what high school classes to take to stand out on your college application? Check out this post for help!
7EDU Impact Academy offers many college preparation services including one-on-ones, counseling, and specific courses.