The college acceptance season is the harbinger of stress, joy and despair in the typical high school; for those who are deferred, it is often the latter.
Students who want to start their college experience ahead of the curve can choose to undergo early application – a process through which they find out early (in December or January) whether they got in or not. If the student is deferred in the early application process, the decision on their admission is postponed until the regular college season. Alternatively, a student who applies for regular admission, and is deferred, must wait until a later date, often in the summer, for their application to be considered.
Upon receiving letters of deferral from four first-pick universities, Georgetown, Michigan, Boston and Villanova, one anonymous source opted to forgo getting help from her counselor and adding to her application. “I got into other colleges, so I don’t care that much,” the anonymous senior said.
It is a common practice to write a letter of response to a college after being deferred. Although the feeling of rejection may still be fresh in your mind, do not allow it to sour your tone. Rather than implying that the college’s admissions board made a mistake in not admitting you outright, a humble, sincere response is more likely to elicit a favored outcome. If, in the meantime – between your deferral and your reply – new information that would improve your application has come up, this is the time to share it. This could include nominations to positions of leadership, awards, or new and improved standardized test scores.
For one sophomore, family life remains unaffected by his brother’s college deferral. “My brother was deferred from UVA, but by the time he had found out, he already knew where he was going to go, so he wasn’t sad about it,” sophomore Brian Garmer said.
Counselors corroborate that, “depending on how competitive the school is, many kids are disappointed they didn’t get accepted, but are still positive that they are being considered. They usually ask what they can do to help their chance of being accepted; I usually tell them to keep their academics strong, as colleges will be looking at midyear’s, which will be important,” counselor Laura Cope said.
Students should remember that the college’s decisions should not be taken personally; if you are deferred, try not to let it affect your self-esteem. “Deferred applicants should reach out to admissions to see if there is anything else they can provide – let them know it’s still their first choice,” Cope advises.
Inevitable stress aside, it’s important to remember that a deferral is not the end of the world; rather, it implies that the college you applied to still believes that you harbor sufficient qualifications.