Early Application Deferral - NOT the End of the World

Sooooo.. Early Decision results are out and your college hasn't accepted or rejected you - you've been deferred. This is NOT the end of the world NOR is it the end of your college application journey. But what does deferral mean?

Simply put, deferral occurs when the college requires some more time to review your application before making a decision and has decided to hold off on giving a definitive response. They will, instead, revisit your application during the regular decision period and provide a final response at this time.
There are so many reasons for deferral, some of which include:
  • First thing to note is... Deferral is not always about you... Some colleges place caps on the amount of students they accept during the early decision period and defer some of these applicants to match them against applications submitted during the regular decision period.
  • Your application may give you the appearance of being too "well-rounded" as we've said before and will continue to say, "Well-roundedness is the kiss of death in college application processes." Make sure your college application is a representation of your best self, with a clear cut understanding of what your college goals are.
  • Your scores might not quite be at the required standard and they are waiting to see additional test scores or to deliberate the grades you've already submitted a little more.
  • Your college application, especially your essays, letters of recommendation and extracurriculars might not have had a very specific and certain oomph that the admissions team of that particular school was looking for (this doesn't mean that your essays won't meet the oomph factor for other schools!)
As we said before... THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!!!

It is not uncommon for students whose applications are deferred in the early to be accepted in the regular round. Georgetown University reports that approximately 15% of applications deferred during early decision are accepted during the regular decision round. So, yes.. There is hope!

If the college didn't think you were a good fit, they would have simply rejected you. They still want you, they just don't know it yet ;).

While you wait for the college's final decision, here are a few steps you can take to ensure that you end up on the winning side of the deferral coin:
  • Re-evaluate! Is this college really for you? Are you absolutely sure that this is the school you want to end? If not, then let the chips fall where they may. If yes, then take action to bolster your application and improve your chances of acceptance.
  • Step those grades up! Improving your academic standing is one of the best ways to ensure your application status goes from 'deferred' to 'accepted'. Ensure that you aren't letting senioritis win... Keep focused and keep your grades high, especially on your exit tests.
  • Stand out! Remember that with deferrals, your application will be reviewed alongside the thousands of students applying during the regular decision period. This means that you have lots more competition this time around. You have got to ensure that your application stands out. While awaiting final notification, get involved- do more charity work, get published or do some internship. Whatever you do, ensure that it is targeted to improving your application... so, keep your actions focused on your proposed area of study.
  • Supplement! During this period, many colleges will request new and updated information. Be sure to stay informed as to whether or not your prospective institution requires any additional from you- check your e-mail! You may have to contact the college- this is actually recommended- to find out whether or not they require any additional information/ documents from you. It is also possible for colleges to state that they wish not to receive any additional information. If that is their instruction... adhere to it and do not submit anything else!

It's exactly what it sounds like. This is the prospective student's opportunity to essentially plead their case with the college. By 'plead', we don't mean 'beg' but, rather, 'prove'. So, demonstrate your unwavering interest in attending the institution, providing proof of your suitability for your selected area of study and college on a whole.

Need help writing your deferral letter? Or simply need guidance on how to handle a deferral? Contact the AIM Online Academy today!

Author: Nicole McLaren Campbell
Nicole is founder of AIM Educational Services (now AIM Online Academy) and the Teen Success Club. Nicole is a college counseling expert and has been helping students for more than 10 years attain their college dreams.

You can find out more about how AIM Online Academy can help YOU here: http://www.aimonlineacademy.com

Get AIM College Essentials for FREE
Grab the Major Keys in the Admissions Journey with AIM curated resources and research hubs just for YOU.