Deferred? Time to Take Action

The dreaded deferral, not the decision any college applicant likes to receive. The good news is, the college decided you are a qualified candidate for admission and will review your file with the regular decision applicant pool. If you applied early decision, this decision means an acceptance from that college is no longer binding. Whether you applied early decision or early action, your application will be reviewed again. So, what should you do to improve your chances for acceptance?

1.    Check the college’s website for instructions for deferred students. If there is not an express plea to refrain from calling the admissions office, then do so. Tell them politely you’ve been deferred and ask if you can find out why. If the college is your first choice school, tell them.

2.   Read any letter or email the college has written you in its entirety for instructions. Some colleges require deferred candidates to let them know they wish to be considered in the regular decision pool or their application will be automatically denied.

3.    Write a letter outlining any major accomplishments since your application. Include your first quarter or first semester grades if they were good. Include any improved test scores if you have not sent them already or think they may not have arrived in time for your application review.

4.    Send the college your mid-year report as soon as it’s available. Send additional test scores if available.

5.    Email (and call) your regional representative. Ask why you’ve been deferred and what you can do to strengthen your application at this point. Attach your letter.

6.    Ask your guidance counselor to reach out to the admissions office on your behalf. Communicate any changes in your credentials to your counselor. Were you named a captain for your winter sport? Did you win a photography, art or DECA award? Were you named the lead in the school play?

7.    Ask another teacher or other person to send a recommendation. Make sure the new recommendation highlights qualities not previously communicated to the college. Ask your guidance counselor for help in ensuring the letter is unique since he or she has likely read your other recommendations. If the college is your first choice, ask the recommender to include that in the letter.

8.    Send supplemental materials if allowed by the college and if you have pertinent materials to send. A newspaper article highlighting an accomplishment, a video, writing sample, or addition to your art portfolio for example.

9.    Make a back-up plan. Take a close look at the remaining schools on your list. Reevaluate Early Decision 2 options. Plan to visit schools that you have not yet had an opportunity to see.