What does it mean to be deferred from a college?

During the application process, students who aren’t accepted during the early decision application round of admittance are either deferred or denied. If the admissions committee feels the applicant is not competitive enough, they will be denied. On the other hand, a student will get deferred if a school wants to hold their application for the Regular Decision applications. Not only will the student remain a candidate for that school, but being deferred from college allows students to submit additional information. These resources can strengthen your application and help you stand out amongst those submitting with the Regular Decision pool (1).

Reasons a Student Might Be Deferred from College

There are several reasons colleges defer students during the early rounds of admission. Sometimes the college admissions office wants to see fall semester grades. It’s also common for schools to hold early applications if they must fulfil specific institutional needs or demographics. When this happens, your application will be saved and compared to students who apply with Regular Decision. Though students may be disappointed if they get deferred, there are several things they can do that can boost their chances of acceptance after receiving their college deferral.

Things You Can Do

If you were deferred, here’s what you can do.

Be sure to read your college deferral closely.

Often, schools will provide information about the applicant pool in the earlier admissions rounds and how you can update your application. Reading your letter carefully is essential as some schools do not want additional information.

If a college specifically states that deferred students should not submit additional application materials, send nothing else. Submitting extra resources can ruin a student’s chances of admittance by not following directions.

Colleges may commonly request specific information like updated grades or test scores. Some schools will even encourage students to submit additional materials like updates on extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, or a deferral letter.

Writing a deferral letter.

Writing a deferral letter is a great way to show colleges you are still eager to attend their university. Typically, a one-page letter written via email and sent in the post can show admissions officers you are serious about attending their school. In your letter, you must display your commitment by stating that you plan to enroll if admitted during Regular Decision. If the school that deferred you isn’t your first pick, state that their school is a top choice. To make your letter even stronger, state why the university you’re writing to is a good fit for your personal and academic needs. Try to reference specific classes, extracurriculars, professors, and opportunities the school provides. Showing that you have researched the school and found personal connections can help immensely.

Updating the college.

Last, update the college on achievements you’ve made since your early decision or early action application. This can be a new anecdote, a connection to the major you’d like to pursue, or other things you’ve accomplished during senior year. Try to stay optimistic and not show signs of disappointment when you write a letter; show colleges you are resilient and proactive!

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Read more details on getting deferred here.