What To Do If You Are Deferred

What To Do If You Are Deferred
What To Do If You Are Deferred

We know that application numbers this season are way up. It’s quite possible that you are a qualified student who has been deferred from your first choice college. Thousands of college applicants have been deferred for consideration during the regular admission cycle. Although this is disappointing, it is not necessarily bad news.  A deferral means that you are qualified and that the admission officers will take another look at your application file during their regular admission period. So, what to do?

If you are still interested in that college and would attend if accepted, here are some helpful tips of things to do now.

1. Don’t Be Too Upset

Most likely, if you’ve been deferred you are a qualified candidate. If you weren’t, you’d be denied. The percentages vary from college to college, but many students do get accepted after being deferred

2. Call About Your Deferral

Give the admissions office a call and try to speak with your representative. It is okay to ask why you were deferred.  The college representative can tell you what to do if you are deferred. Explain that this college is still your first choice and ask them what you can do to strengthen your application. Be positive and express enthusiasm for the college.

3. Send NEW Information

Colleges generally ask for your midyear grades. Update your resume – DO NOT send anything that the college has already seen – All your information must be new. Also, think about other information that might be worth sending:

New and improved SAT or ACT scores if available

Participation in a new extracurricular activity

A new leadership position in a group or team

A new honor or award

4. Send a New Letter of Recommendation

An additional letter of recommendation from someone who has not written for you yet is a good idea. This letter should highlight your unique characteristics and mention some things about you not previously mentioned. If this is your first choice college, the recommender could say that in their letter

5. Send Supplemental Materials

You can check with the college to see if they allow you to send any supplemental materials – For example, an art portfolio or writing sample would do.

6. Be Polite

Thank admission people you communicate with and remain polite and positive. They are very busy this time of year so save up any questions rather than calling several times

7. Have An Alternative Plan In Mind

You should do what you can to get into your top choice school, but remain realistic. Many deferred students do get accepted during the regular pool, however, many do not. Make sure you have applied to a range of reach, 50/50 and likely colleges so that you will have additional choices if you get a denial from your first choice.

8. Compelling Letter

To present new information, you may want to draft a letter to the college. You can be disappointed but not angry – short and to the point is best.

Here’s a sample:

Last week I learned that my application for early decision at Johns Hopkins was deferred. As you can imagine, this news was disappointing to me — Johns Hopkins remains the university I’m most excited about attending. I visited a lot of schools during my college search, and Johns Hopkins’s program in International Studies appeared to be a perfect match for my interests and aspirations. I want to thank you and your colleagues for the time you put into considering my application. After I applied for early decision, I received a couple more pieces of information that I hope will strengthen my application. First, I retook the SAT in November and my combined score went from 1990 to 2200. The College Board will be sending you an official score report soon. Also, I was recently elected to be the Captain of our school Ski Team, a group of 28 students who compete in regional competitions. As Captain, I will have a central role in the team’s scheduling, publicity and fund raising. I have asked the team’s coach to send you a supplemental letter of recommendation that will address my role within the Ski Team.

Many thanks for your consideration, 

Best of luck and contact us with any questions or concerns!