The Ivy Coach Daily

December 4, 2023

What To Do After Being Deferred by Princeton

A big lecture hall is featured at Princeton University.
Princeton has historically deferred more applicants than it denies in the Early Action round (photo credit: PoliticsIsExciting).

Did Princeton University defer your admission in the Early Action round? If so, chin up. You’ve still got a genuine shot of earning admission to the Ivy League institution in the Regular Decision round — and anyone who tells you any differently doesn’t understand the elite college admissions process. That being said, your chances of earning admission after your deferral will depend entirely on your approach. So, how should you fight the fight after your Princeton deferral? Let’s dive in!

Princeton Early Action Admission Rates Over 20 Years

While Princeton has yet to release Early Action admissions statistics for the Classes of 2028, 2027, and 2026 (we’ll post them as soon as the official tallies are on the board) and because the school suspended its Early Action policy for the Class of 2025 due to the pandemic, the most recent verifiable Early Action statistics available for Princeton are for the Class of 2024.

For the Princeton Class of 2024, 791 students earned admission out of a pool of 4,998 applicants, marking an EA admission rate of 15.8%. For the Princeton Class of 2023, 743 students earned admission out of 5,335 applicants for an EA admission rate of 13.9%. For the Princeton Class of 2022, 799 students earned admission from a pool of 5,402 applicants, marking an EA admission rate of 14.8%. In the six years leading up to the Early Action round for the Class of 2022, the admission rate dropped from 21.1% to 15.4%.

Based on historical trendlines, it is thus likely that Princeton’s Early Action admission rate for the Class of 2028 stands in the low to mid-teens. However, no one can say with certainty until Princeton’s admissions committee publishes the figures.

Admissions CyclePrinceton Graduating ClassPrinceton’s Early Action Admission Rate
2023-2024Class of 2028Not Yet Published
2022-2023Class of 2027Not Yet Published
2021-2022Class of 2026Not Yet Published
2020-2021Class of 2025Not Applicable (Early Action Suspended Due to Covid-19)
2019-2020Class of 202415.8%
2018-2019Class of 202313.9%
2017-2018Class of 202214.8%
2016-2017Class of 202115.4%
2015-2016Class of 202018.6%
2014-2015Class of 201919.9%
2013-2014Class of 201818.5%
2012-2013Class of 201718.3%
2011-2012Class of 201621.1%
2010-2011Class of 2015Not Applicable (Early Action Not in Place)
2009-2010Class of 2014Not Applicable (Early Action Not in Place)
2008-2009Class of 2013Not Applicable (Early Action Not in Place)
2007-2008Class of 2012Not Applicable (Early Action Not in Place)
2006-2007Class of 201125.5%
2005-2006Class of 201026.8%
2004-2005Class of 200929.1%
2003-2004Class of 200832%
2002-2003Class of 200725.1%

Princeton Early Action Deferral Rates

In recent years, Princeton has liked to play coy about its admissions statistics. But before the school ceased releasing Early Action figures, in the first half of the 2010s, around 78.9% of Early Action applicants to the Ivy League institution received deferrals and 21.1% received outright rejections.

5 Steps to Take After Being Deferred by Princeton

  1. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. You weren’t rejected. You were deferred. You’ve still got a shot. It doesn’t mean that everything is wrong and everything needs to change. You’ve still got a shot to reposition your narrative for Princeton and your Regular Decision schools.
  2. Complete a PostMortem application review. You need to learn what you did right, what you did wrong, and what needs to change over these two weeks before you a.) submit a Letter of Continued Interest to Princeton and b.) submit your Regular Decision applications. While you won’t be able to change some things at this late date, much can still be changed. How you present your activities, your essays, and your singular hook is all very much still in your control.
  3. Write your Letter of Continued Interest with expedience. While, after a deferral, many students know they need to send in a letter to Princeton if they hope to earn Regular Decision admission, most students a.) think this letter should go in weeks or months later and b.) think the letter should be filled with brags and updates on all they’ve achieved since they first applied all of six weeks ago. Ivy Coach’s assistance with students’ Letters of Continued Interest dispels both notions and offers students the best shot possible of turning that deferral into an offer of admission.
  4. Share your letter with your school counselor. After a Princeton deferral, good school counselors will make advocacy calls to the Princeton admissions office. They’ll fight for their students. But our students at Ivy Coach don’t just cross their fingers and hope their school counselors say what they want them to say. Instead, our students arm their counselors with a narrative — as shared through the Letter of Continued Interest — so they position you the way you need to be positioned.
  5. Keep up your grades and activities, and don’t watch the pot boil. Don’t drop any courses. Maintain excellent grades. Don’t discontinue your involvement in your activities. But, also, try not to think about Princeton every day. Once you’ve submitted a wow Letter of Continued Interest and brought that letter to your school counselor in the hope they’ll make an advocacy call on your behalf, you’ve done all you can. Be ok knowing that you’ve done all you can.

Princeton Deferral FAQ

Should I call my regional representative in the Princeton admissions office to find out why I was deferred?

Absolutely not! You should avoid doing so for two reasons: a.) admissions officers don’t want to speak with deferred students, so you’ll come across as a gadfly and b.) admissions officers will never tell you the actual reason you didn’t get in, so any reason they offer to you or even your school counselor should be taken with several grains of salt.

Does Princeton want to receive additional letters of recommendation after a deferral?

There’s a decades-old expression in elite college admissions that goes, “The thicker the file, the thicker the applicant.” Don’t inundate Princeton’s admissions committee with material they didn’t request. It will only serve to drown out the power of your Letter of Continued Interest. Let your letter speak — and breathe.

Should I send updates to Princeton regularly after I submit my Letter of Continued Interest?

Absolutely not! You will only drown out the power of your Letter of Continued Interest and come across as a gadfly. More is not better. Less is more.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Princeton Deferral

Over the last 30 years, around 40% of students who work with us after their Princeton deferral ultimately earn admission to the Ivy League school. Overall, at most highly selective universities, including Princeton, around 10% of deferred students earn admission in Regular Decision. So, even Ivy Coach can’t give you a great shot of getting into Princeton after a deferral, but we can give you the best chance possible.

If you’re interested in giving yourself the best chance possible of admission to Princeton in the Regular Decision round, fill out Ivy Coach’s free consultation form. We’ll then be in touch to outline our PostMortem and Letter of Continued Interest for deferred applicants.

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