The Ivy Coach Daily

December 13, 2023

Deferred by the University of Chicago: What It Means and Next Steps

A dormitory covered in Ivy is featured at a corner of the University of Chicago.
The University of Chicago defers students from their pools of Early Decision and Early Action candidates (photo credit: Blanham).

Were you deferred to the University of Chicago’s Class of 2028 in the Early Decision or Early Action round? If so, we know it’s certainly not the news you were hoping for — but all hope should not be lost. You’ve still got a shot of earning Early Decision II or Regular Decision admission. So, what exactly are your chances, and how can you optimize them? Let’s dive in!

UChicago Early Decision/Early Action Admissions Statistics

Unlike most of its peer institutions, UChicago, which offers students the option of applying either Early Decision or Early Action by November 1st (in addition to Early Decision II and Regular Decision by January 2nd), rarely releases its acceptance, deferral, or denial rates in the Early round.

That said, students who apply Early Decision or Early Action enjoy better odds than those who apply Regular Decision (with Early Decision candidates enjoying the more significant benefit since they showed their love to UChicago by making a binding commitment).

Wondering why? UChicago’s admissions committee is more insecure in the Early round than the Regular Decision round. When evaluating students in the Early round, they don’t yet know if they’ll secure a large and strong applicant pool in January. And since UChicago’s admissions committee is more insecure in the Early round, they’re more lenient in their decision-making.

UChicago Invites Deferred Applicants to Apply Early Decision II

For applicants who receive deferrals in either the Early Action or Early Decision I rounds, UChicago invites them to apply Early Decision II. And while applying Early Decision II would offer these applicants increased odds of admission since they’re showing their love to UChicago by making a binding commitment, the advantage of applying ED II is never as strong as ED I because by the time UChicago’s admissions committee reviews ED II candidates, they can already see the full Regular Decision pool.

In short, they’re more secure by then. It always behooves applicants to apply when they’re less secure since this leads them to evaluate more leniently. Of course, that ship has sailed for deferred applicants, but if they want to give themselves the best shot of admission in the spring, they’ll commit to an Early Decision II candidacy.

6 Steps to Take After Being Deferred by The University of Chicago

If you’ve been deferred to UChicago, either through Early Decision I or Early Action, your six-step game plan should be as follows:

  1. Take a breath. You’ve got two weeks to best position your candidacy to UChicago and to your other Regular Decision schools. It’s ok to relax for one day before getting to work, to try to get over some of the disappointment.
  2. Complete a free consultation with Ivy Coach to learn about our deferral service so you can best position your candidacy after this disappointing news.
  3. Endure Ivy Coach’s PostMortem application review. We know it’s not fun to hear what went wrong. But it’s important you know what went wrong so you don’t make these same mistakes for your Regular Decision schools. After all, UChicago received the same Common Application you’ll send to other institutions. You can change every element of the application before you send in the same application, anticipating different results.
  4. Complete a compelling Letter of Continued Interest to UChicago’s admissions committee with Ivy Coach’s assistance. We’ll brainstorm and revise every paragraph of this letter so it’s as powerful as possible. It’s a letter that should feature no brags and no updates, and it should be submitted within a few days of your deferral. As UChicago’s admissions committee writes on its website, “If UChicago remains your first choice, don’t hesitate to let us know!” But you don’t convince them by telling them it’s your first choice. You convince them by showing them. We’ll help you do just that.
  5. Decide if you wish to commit to an Early Decision II candidacy to UChicago. Your odds of earning admission to UChicago after your deferral will be stronger if you apply Early Decision II as opposed to Regular Decision. It’s Ivy Coach’s recommendation you make this commitment!
  6. In the New Year, bring your Letter of Continued Interest to your school counselor. Ask your school counselor if they’d be willing to make an advocacy call on your behalf to your UChicago regional representative and if they could position you as you position yourself in your Letter of Continued Interest. Some school counselors will agree to do so, while others will make no such call. Good school counselors will always make advocacy calls on behalf of their students. It’s literally their job!

University of Chicago Deferral FAQ

Will my odds of earning admission to UChicago after my deferral be stronger if I commit to Early Decision II instead of Regular Decision?

Yes, when you show your love to UChicago by making a binding commitment to attend if offered admission, the school shows its love back to you with preferential odds of admission.

Is UChicago really test-optional? If I didn’t submit my scores when I applied Early, should I submit my test scores now?

Most of America’s highly selective universities are test-optional, but most of these schools aren’t being totally forthright. After all, students with great test scores will always enjoy an advantage over students with no scores. And while that’s true at UChicago too — no matter what they may tell you to the contrary — UChicago is more honest than most of America’s elite universities on this point. Why? Because UChicago went test-optional before the pandemic. Most other top schools only switched to test-optional out of necessity.

Do deferred UChicago candidates really have a chance?

Yes, UChicago admits deferred students annually. Over the last 30 years, 66% of students who first come to Ivy Coach after being deferred by UChicago — through either Early policy — have earned admission.

Is UChicago as competitive to get into as certain Ivy League schools?

Yes, UChicago’s overall admission rate is regularly in the single digits — just like Ivy League institutions.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Your UChicago Deferral

If you’re interested in optimizing your chances of admission to UChicago’s Class of 2028 in the Early Decision II or Regular Decision rounds, fill out Ivy Coach’s free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our college counseling services for deferred applicants.

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