After anticipating your results for weeks, you may have heard back from your early application schools that you’ve been deferred. What does a deferral mean, and what can you do about it? Use our guide below to understand how to follow up with the Early Action or Early Decision schools you’ve been deferred from.
What does a deferral mean? If your application was deferred, it means that for any number of reasons, the admissions office chose not to give you a final decision in December. A deferral is not a denial, and it’s not the same as being waitlisted. The college has opted to re-review your application in the coming weeks or months, and give you an updated admissions decision along with the rest of the Regular Decision applicant pool.
Why was my application deferred? The exact reason is hard to predict, as every college defers applicants for different reasons. Instead of focusing on why your application was deferred, it’s more important to consider what you can do to potentially improve your chances of admission in the next round.
So, what should I do? The first thing you should do is send a friendly and polite email to your regional admissions counselor telling them that you’re still very interested in the school, and ask if there’s anything that would be helpful for you to send them. College admissions offices usually divide responsibilities by geographic region, so there’s probably a specific officer assigned to you who is responsible for looking at your application in the first round. Visit the school’s admissions website and email or call them and find out the contact info for the officer representing your region.
Colleges often have very specific information that they want to hear from deferred students, so it’s important to ask. For example, they might want to see how your fall semester grades turned out. They might also have specific guidelines about what you should and shouldn’t do to increase your chances of admission. If there’s nothing specific that the college needs from you, here are some ideas for you to strengthen your application.
- Send a short, sincere, and specific letter or email of continued interest to your regional admissions counselor. Let them know you are still interested in the school and why. Remember to be polite in any of your communications with colleges. If this school is in fact, without a doubt, your first choice, make sure that comes across. If you applied ED, reiterate that commitment. Even if it’s no longer your first choice, you can say that you’re highly interested.
- The letter is also an opportunity for you to write yourself a letter of recommendation of sorts about your most recent accomplishments, shedding light on updated test scores, an upward trajectory in grades, or meaningful evidence of your extracurricular or community impact.
- If you haven’t visited the college, ask the admissions office if paying a visit would be a good idea. Some schools care about demonstrated interest, and a visit could be something they would note.
- If you feel that perhaps your test scores are a bit weak for the college, you can sign up to take the SAT or ACT again and send the college your new scores.
- If you’ve had any significant extracurricular or academic accomplishments or achievements since submitting your application, you can send your area admissions counselor an update.
We recommend asking the college’s admissions department before doing anything beyond these suggestions. You want them to know that you’re still interested, but you don’t want to flood their inbox. A few well-written lines can have more impact than an overload of information. So, seek out your regional representative and talk to your guidance counselor about what to include in your letter of continued interest if you’re writing one. Don’t neglect your regular decision applications; now is a great time to focus on doing your best.