AdmissionsEarly ActionEarly DecisionSecond Semester

What to Do if You’ve Been Deferred

By December 10, 2014 No Comments


Accepted or rejected. The concept is pretty straightforward but sometimes admissions answers aren’t so clear. Students who applied early decision or early action are hearing back from their colleges and some of them are hearing “deferred.”

Students may not know what being deferred (or postponed) exactly means or what their next steps should be. So let’s break it down!

Being deferred means that a college has decided to hold off on accepting or denying a student. A deferred student’s application will be thrown back in with the regular admission applications and considered again. Usually, colleges are waiting to see how the rest of that student’s senior year goes and how s/he measures up against the whole body of applicants before they make their final decision.

After a student hears that s/he has been deferred, there are a number of things s/he should do next.

Do research
First of all, find out what being deferred means at that specific school. Some schools defer a very small number of students while others defer all the student they didn’t accept during early decision/admission. If a student knows the likelihood of being accepted, s/he can decide whether to continue pursuing that school or if s/he would rather focus on the other schools on his/her college list.

Show interest
If a deferred student decides to keep pursuing that school, s/he should send a one-page letter to the admissions counselor letting the college know that it is still his/her top choice. S/he should outline the specific reasons s/he still wishes to attend that school and include any new information about academic and extracurricular achievements.

Send additional materials
Students should keep the college updated by sending in…

  • updated semester grades
  • new ACT/SAT scores
  • any new awards or recognitions received
  • an additional recommendation (if appropriate)
  • Perform well in school
    Now, more than ever, maintaining good grades is extremely important. If a student has been deferred, that school is watching his/her progress very closely and will make decisions accordingly. By working hard and staying involved in activities, students will give colleges more information to strengthen their application.

    Being deferred can be frustrating. It draws out the application process and adds a level of uncertainty. However, being deferred means the college hasn’t said no. If students continue to show schools that they are strong candidates, they have a chance of gaining admission. Of course, being deferred doesn’t always lead to being admitted but students with a balanced college list will always have a number of other great schools to consider, no matter the outcome.