What to do if you get Deferred from your Top-Choice School

Applying season is an exciting time, and you’ve probably already picked out a dream school that meets all of your requirements. But what happens if you get a deferral letter from your top-choice school? Read on to learn more about what deferral means and what steps you should be taking moving forward.

What Does it Mean to be Deferred?

Getting deferred from a college only happens if you’ve applied to a school for Early Decision. Expect a letter from the school in December, January or February (depending on the school.) A deferral means you’ll be considered again with the Regular Decision applicant pool and will receive a final decision in March or April. If you’ve been deferred from your top-choice school, there are a few things you should do. First, don’t be hopeless! It’s still important to show the school that you are eager to attend without coming across as desperate.

Read the Deferral Letter

Carefully read over what the deferral letter says to learn what else the school needs from you for their final decision. Usually, they will ask for an updated grade report, which you can get from your high school. Sometimes, this is all they need. However, they may also require additional recommendation letters or updates about your involvement in extracurriculars. It’s possible that the school you are applying to will not request any additional materials. Either way, follow the instructions in the deferral letter as closely as possible for the best outcome.

Get in Contact with the School

Sometimes, speaking with an admissions counselor at the college to let them know that you’re still committed to attending can lead to a positive outcome. When speaking to an admissions counselor, be polite and respectful. Explain that you received a deferral letter and would like to know if there are any steps you can take that will increase your chances of being accepted. It’s unlikely that you’ll find out why you were deferred, but this isn’t information that you’ll need. The point of this call is to demonstrate that you’re still interested in attending the school and are capable of handling the deferral maturely and respectfully.

If you can talk to an admissions counselor, follow up with a letter and reference the topics you spoke about it your call. If you didn’t speak to an admissions counselor, you can direct a letter to the main admissions committee email address. Be sure to include information about why you’re a good fit for the school and update the admissions office about your academic progress or any new accomplishments you may have received.

And if you haven’t already had an in-person interview with an admissions counselor and you have been offered one, now is the time to take it. As with the call and the letter mentioned above, treat this as your opportunity to show that you want to attend the school and that you’re ready to take the necessary steps to get accepted.

Don’t Overdo it

Be enthusiastic, but don’t be a stalker! Making multiple calls, sending letters repeatedly, or including materials that were not requested may hurt your chances. The school you want wants to know that you are responsible and have good judgement.

If you’ve already applied to schools and you’re watching your email inbox, good luck! But if you’re just getting started on your personal admissions strategy, get in touch! Brattle Street’s College Advising and Admissions Coaching services can help you navigate the application process with confidence, narrow down the giant field of potential colleges out there and figure out which schools best suit your personal interests and aspirations. We work closely with students at every stage. Brattle Street will highlight your unique talents and select the best schools to fit your individual needs and ambitions. We will help you prep for interviews and craft standout personal essays that use your own authentic voice.