There are many reasons why a student’s application may be deferred. Admissions officers may want to see grades from the fall semester/trimester or new test scores. They might need more time to consider the applicant pool and how it meets the institutional priorities of the college. Maybe they’re unsure whether you have demonstrated enough interest in their school. Sometimes a deferral can be a courtesy decision in order to let certain types of applicants down easy, like legacy or development cases. No matter why you’re deferred, there’s an opportunity for you to improve your chances of admission in the regular decision round.
What To Do Next:
Here are next steps that you should consider after your deferral.
1. Determine if the college is still your top-choice. A deferral can evoke a lot of emotions, and might change how you view your early colleges. Consider whether or not the college remains at the top of your list, or if you want to focus your energy on other schools.
2. Find out what the college needs from you. Some colleges might request specific information, like first semester/trimester grades or test scores. Determine what the college requires, what’s appropriate to provide, and heed those preferences. If a college explicitly states that deferred students should not submit additional application materials, then do not send in anything else.
If the college allows you to send additional materials, here’s what you can do next:
1. Compose a letter of continued interest. Write a one-page or less email addressed to the admissions officer at the college who evaluates applicants from your high school (if this isn’t on the admissions website, call the admissions office and ask). The College Essay Guy has excellent suggestions for writing a great letter of continued interest.
2. Send an additional recommendation letter. If there is another teacher, especially from senior year, or outside recommender, like a coach or employer, who can add new information about you, ask them to write you a letter and have them send it to the college. Ensure that you contact admissions to find out to whom this recommendation should be submitted.
3. Visit (if the college is open) before March 1st. A visit can help you decide if the college is for you, and can help you show demonstrated interest.
4. Send additional grades and test scores, if applicable. By early March, make sure the college receives:
A mid-year report with fall semester/trimester grades.
An official score report from the SAT/ACT that shows any new test scores that you might have received since you submitted your original application.
5. Update your school counselor regarding your deferral and your continued interest. School counselors often talk to admissions officers about students who have applied. If the college remains your top choice, ensure that you relay this information to your counselor.
6. Continue to apply to your regular decision colleges. Don’t neglect your regular decision applications while trying to improve your admission chances at your early college.
Even though showing sincere interest may help your application, it’s possible that the admissions committee may not admit you in the spring. While it’s okay to be disappointed, remember that there are also many reasons to stay positive. If you have done thoughtful research, there should be many colleges that fit your needs and where you could be happy and successful!