The Ivy Coach Daily

December 13, 2023

Deferred by Stanford: What It Means and Next Steps to Take

Stanford University’s football stadium is featured under the lights on game night.

Did you apply Restrictive Early Action to Stanford University and receive a deferral to the Class of 2028? If so, chin up because your quest to earn admission to Stanford isn’t over just yet, though your chances will depend on the steps you take from this point moving forward. So, what are your chances of earning admission to Stanford post-deferral, and what can you do to optimize your case for admission? Let’s dive in!

Stanford University Early Action Admission Rates

Stanford has long withheld its Early Action admissions statistics, blazing a trail that other elite universities have since followed by also keeping their Early admissions figures close to the vest. Over the last five years (it’s, in fact, been longer!), you’ll find no verifiable Early Action admissions statistics from Stanford.

The last verifiable Stanford Early Action statistics were published for the Class of 2021 — seven years ago. That year, 9.24% of Early Action applicants earned admission to Stanford, a figure that trumped its 3.67% Regular Decision admission rate for the year.

And while there is also no verifiable published data on the percentage of students Stanford defers or denies each Early Action cycle, our sources have long indicated that Stanford rejects many more students than it defers (and the school, of course, rejects many more students than it accepts — hey, it’s Stanford!).

In fact, as Stanford’s admissions office candidly states on its website, “Stanford defers only a small percentage of Restrictive Early Action applications to Regular Decision.”

Stanford University Deferral Form

Unlike most elite universities in which students are encourage to upload any material, such as a Letter of Continued Interest, to their portals, Stanford offers deferred candidates a form to complete. Any student who hopes to earn admission after being deferred by Stanford should thus take the opportunity to complete the form. And how they complete it matters big time.

5 Steps to Take After Being Deferred by Stanford University

  1. Breathe in, breathe out. You’re going to have to act swiftly to address your deferral. But first, take a moment for yourself. You need a clear head before you start tackling your Stanford deferral. You have only one chance to get it right.
  2. Set up a free consultation with Ivy Coach to learn about our services for deferred candidates. We regularly help deferred candidates earn admission to their Early schools each year. Do you have a great chance of earning admission after a deferral? No, and if anyone tells you that you have a great chance, we encourage you to run and run fast. All we can do is give you the best chance possible — and if that’s not enough for you, then we’re not the right fit.
  3. Complete a PostMortem application review with Ivy Coach to understand what went wrong, what went right, and what you should and should not focus on in your post-deferral Stanford form. While we need to see what you submitted to Stanford, the changes we’re recommending are not for Stanford. After all, you can’t change your Stanford application. What’s been submitted has been submitted. But you can change your Regular Decision applications to every other school you have yet to apply to. Why repeat the same mistakes?
  4. Submit the Stanford post-deferral form with Ivy Coach’s assistance so it’s filled with no brags that will only inspire admissions officers to root against you. The knee-jerk reaction of most deferred applicants is to toot their own horns. But it’s not the approach students who first come to Ivy Coach after their Stanford deferrals take — and it’s a big reason why they have the success they do. In a word, we help the weird shine through on the Stanford deferral forms. Yes, we really did say weird. It’s a big reason why our students get in.
  5. Ask your school counselor to make an advocacy call on your behalf. This phone call can be made in the New Year. So your school counselor hits the right notes on the call, we encourage you to share your completed Stanford deferral form with them. This way, they can present you as you presented yourself post-deferral. And while some school counselors will refuse to make advocacy calls (often citing the spirit of equity), good school counselors will always pick up the phone and lobby for you. It’s their job.

What Not to Do If You’ve Been Deferred by Stanford

Below are five things never to do after being deferred by Stanford. And yes, we wrote them Bart Simpson chalkboard-style so you can drill it into your heads!

  1. Refrain from calling the Stanford admissions office to find out why you didn’t get in. Admissions officers don’t wish to speak with you, and, besides, such a move will only render you less likable. Don’t be a Karen. Seriously!
  2. Refrain from emailing the Stanford admissions office to find out why you didn’t get in.
  3. Refrain from emailing updates to the Stanford admissions office. Do you really think your deferral will become an acceptance because you’ve been named president of the National Honor Society?
  4. Refrain from sending gifts and unrequested items to the Stanford admissions office. You’d be amazed what students will send or do!
  5. Refrain from reaching out to the Stanford admissions office after you’ve submitted your crisp deferral form. No one likes a gadfly. Your repeated emails will only render you less likable, which should be the opposite of your objective if you hope to earn admission to Stanford’s Class of 2028.

Stanford Deferral FAQ

Is a Stanford deferral meaningful?

Yes, because Stanford denies most Early Action candidates, you’ve still got a real chance of earning Regular Decision admission to The Farm. At some of Stanford’s peer institutions, like Harvard University, a deferral doesn’t carry as much weight because so many students receive deferral notices.

Does Stanford accept, defer, or deny most Early Action candidates?

Stanford denies most Early Action candidates. The percentage of denied candidates far eclipses the percentage of deferred and accepted candidates combined.

Was applying Early Action to Stanford the right choice?

Not always. At Ivy Coach, we are big proponents of applying in the Early round since elite colleges are much more lenient in this phase. But the school one chooses to apply to in the Early round is key.

Stanford is typically the one school we — not always, but often — discourage applicants from applying to in the Early round — particularly applicants who are considered overrepresented minorities in elite college admissions, like Chinese Americans and Indian Americans. 

In our experience, these students have significantly better odds in Regular Decision. At Ivy Coach, we like to call it the April Surprise when our students earn admission to Stanford in Regular Decision. Last year, for instance, we had one student who didn’t get in ED to an Ivy League school. As it turns out, he was glad he didn’t get in because he got in RD to Stanford, making the acceptance even sweeter.

Can students change their Stanford applications post-deferral?

No, once the application is submitted, it cannot be changed. That said, it would behoove students to identify the mistakes made in their Stanford applications so they don’t repeat these mistakes as they apply to other schools in Regular Decision.

Can you appeal your Stanford decision?

Certainly not. Like almost all elite universities, Stanford does not allow appeals of their decision. An Early Action rejection is the final word for the year. Yet it never ceases to amaze us how many families come to us after Stanford deferrals and ask how they can initiate an appeal process. They can’t!

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Your Stanford Deferral

Over the last three decades, 33% of students who have first approached Ivy Coach after being deferred by Stanford have earned admission in Regular Decision — a significant multiple of overall deferred Stanford candidates who get in.

If you’re interested in giving yourself the best chance of earning admission to Stanford’s Class of 2028 post-deferral, fill out Ivy Coach’s free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to delineate our college counseling services for deferred candidates.

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