Your application was deferred- what next?

Posted a month ago

When acceptance time rolls around, you’re most likely expecting to hear one of two answers- that you’ve been accepted, or rejected.

What most advisors don’t tell you that there is a pretty high chance you could get deferred, meaning that if you applied for early decision or action, the college didn’t accept you during that cycle but they do see potential in your application and will reevaluate it again during the regular decision cycle.

Keep in mind that which university you are deferred from makes a difference.

At Harvard, under the early application program, out of the 6,630 students that applied, 938 were accepted, 611 were rejected, and the rest (4,882) were deferred. Some schools, like Northwestern only defer about 1-2% of their applicants whereas instead of rejecting students, Georgetown University defers all students who aren’t accepted.

If you get deferred- don’t freak out. There are steps you can take to make your application stand out and prove to the university that you deserve a spot in the incoming class:

1) Answer this very important question: is this college still your top choice?

This university might have been your dream school, but have things changed since you applied? If it’s still your number one, then definitely don’t give up! All good things are worth fighting for.

2) Reach out to the university

Sometimes they are looking for more information from you before making their decision on your acceptance. Before sending in additional information or making any changes to your application, make sure the university you’ve applied to accepts additional material. Some students submit a full resume or LinkedIn profile to spice up their application and bring it to life. Check with your school counselor on how to go about reaching out to the university.

3) Write a letter

If this college is your top choice and you have compelling new information to present, you should definitely write a deferral letter. It should detail why you should be considered for admission. It shouldn’t exceed one page and should include:

Why you are interested in this university and why it’s still your top choice.

All the impressive things you’ve accomplished since applying, don’t restate what’s already in your personal statement and essays, tell them about an award you’ve received or a conference you’ve attended since applying. Such as...

  • Higher test scores (a higher increase than 10 points) for the SAT or ACT.

  • High grades on advanced courses.

  • Extracurricular accomplishments in sports, music, Science Olympiad, National Honors Society, Model UN, etc.

  • Volunteer or shadowing hours.

  • Independent projects or capstones.

Help your application stand out by adding in your LinkedIn or updating your resume. Adding photos, videos and other relevant material can help make your application more dimensional.

Finish it up with why you are the perfect fit and what you would bring to the campus experience.

If you’ve decided to write a deferral letter, be sure to inform admission officers you’re still interested in attending the university. You should also let them know of any new accomplishments you’ve had since applying. Check out this example of a deferral letter below:

Dear Mr. Smith,

I am writing to inform you of an addition to my University of Georgia application. Although my admission for Early Action has been deferred, I am still very interested in UGA and therefore I wish to keep you up to date on my activities and achievements.

Earlier this month I participated in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology in New York City. My high school team was awarded a $10,000 scholarship for our research on graph theory. The judges consisted of a panel of scientists and mathematicians led by former astronaut Dr. Thomas Jones; the awards were presented at a ceremony on Dec. 7. Over two thousand students entered this competition, and I was extremely honored to be recognized alongside the other winners. More information on this competition can be found through the Siemens Foundation web site.

Thank you for your continued consideration of my application.

Sincerely,

Hannah Student

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