January 2010 Newsletter
It’s the middle of January and you’ve submitted your regular decision applications. This wasn’t your original plan, because you had hoped that you would have been accepted at your early decision / action college. But on or before December 15th, you heard from the college to which you applied early. You were neither accepted nor rejected; you were deferred!
What this means is that the admissions committee decided to hold off on committing to an acceptance until after they’ve reviewed the entire applicant pool. For the deferred student, the early decision contract is now void, and if the student does ultimately get accepted, he/she is not obligated to attend. (An early action application is never binding.)
There could be many different reasons why a student is deferred. The admissions committee might want to see second semester grades, or additional standardized test scores. The applicant might have submitted an incomplete application, had a mediocre letter of recommendation, or had written weak essays. Whatever the reason is, if the student still wants to be accepted, a degree of proactivity is necessary.
The first thing that a deferred student should do is to write a heartfelt letter about why this college is still his/her first choice. If with the original application the student submitted a why-I-want-to-go-to-this-particular-college essay, then this letter has to be very different from what is already a part of the application. It also needs to be positive, creative, and most of all passionate. In the end, the applicant must be able to convince the committee that this school is a perfect fit, and if admitted during the regular decision round, he/she will most definitely attend.
Additional letters of recommendation, phone calls on the students behalf, and contact with the regional admissions counselor can also work to the applicants advantage. Updating the application with meaningful information, such as new test scores, or a new achievement, honor or award are other opportunities for the student to be proactive. And of course, this college is going to require second semester grades, so senioritis is not an option! But whatever it is that the student does, he/she needs to be prudent, and not go over the top.
The good news is that when a deferred applicant is reconsidered, the admissions committee is well aware that this student used the early card, and that’s going to add significant bonus points.