so you were deferred from the college you applied early action or early decision to ... what does this mean?
If you applied to any colleges using their Early Action or Early Decision deadlines, you have probably heard back from them regarding your application status. You may have been accepted, rejected, or deferred from your dream college. With many colleges offering record-low numbers of admissions seats in the class of 2025, from Harvard, Duke, Penn, and Yale, what does this mean for you?
If you were deferred from your dream college during the early cycle, do not fret, because your application will still be considered and you will still have a chance to be accepted. In this blog, I will discuss what being deferred from a college means and some tips on what you should do next.
1. What does “Being Deferred” mean?
Being deferred does not mean that your college application was rejected, but the college admissions officers will be reviewing your application with the regular-decision applicant pool. This means that you will probably not hear back regarding your admissions decision from your early action/early decision college until March through May. So even though you were probably hoping for a decision regarding your application early, the silver lining is that you were not rejected, so you could still be accepted.
2. Think About If You Still Want to Attend this College
After being deferred, you might decide that you don’t actually want to attend that college anymore because of the emotions you felt after being deferred. I would urge you to take some time to weigh this school and the programs that it offers before completely shutting the school out. After some time has passed since the deferral, you may come back around on your thoughts about the college. On the other hand, after researching and applying to other schools, you may realize that the college you were deferred from might not be the best fit for you.
3. Don’t Get Too Attached on a “Dream School”
You do not want to get too attached about attending a certain school without knowing your admissions decision from that school. Having a favorite college is ok, but this can be unhealthy if you become so focused on one school that you disregard all other schools or if you only apply to the one college. You want to give yourself as many options as possible, so make sure that you are giving every college you are applying to a fair chance.
For me, I was rejected from the college I applied Restrictive Early Action to. That was a sad day. Dealing with rejection can be hard, and that can be a whole other blog post, but for now, realize that everything happens for a reason. Your college admissions cycle just started and you will have happy days full of acceptances to come.
4. Send in Materials the College Requests from you
Some colleges may request that you send in additional information for the admissions team to consider. They may ask for documents like: official transcripts (including your fall grades), additional letters of recommendation, school club and other extracurricular activity updates, or they may even allow you to write a one-page letter to them. Other colleges may tell you to not submit anything extra. If that is the case, do not submit any extra materials and do not call the admissions office every day. Follow the directions of what the college is requesting from you.
If you have the option of sending in a supplemental essay, you should consider submitting one, because it will show that you are still interested in the school. These essays are less formal than your official application essays. In this essay, you can talk about why you are still interested in the university and include additional reasons that were not in your original application. Show the officers that you are dedicated to this university and want to attend and would attend if accepted. Additionally, you can talk about any new activities that you have gotten involved in since applying to college. If you won any awards or sports and club competitions, that would be something good to include also! For me, I wrote supplemental essays when I was waitlisted to a few schools. I had talked about my involvement as the Student Member on my county’s Board of Education and some of the pivotal votes that I was a part of. This was not included in my original application thoroughly because when applying to colleges, I was just starting out in this elected position, so did not have a lot of experience yet to write about it as a full college application essay. Please let me know if you would want an entire blog dedicated to this topic, by submitting a suggestion form, here!
5. Finalize your Applications and Apply for More Colleges
If you put all of your eggs in the early action/early decision basket, then winter break is the time to apply to more colleges. If you have started to apply to other colleges, then winter break is the time to put the finishing touches on all of your regular decision applications and get those submitted.
If you want a checklist of what you should be doing over winter break as a college applicant, check out my blog on this exact topic.
6. Keep Your Grades up, no Senioritis!
Since you were deferred, this means that the admissions team will be reviewing your application at a later date and will probably ask you to submit your grades from your fall quarters. Having senioritis and letting your grades drop can affect your admissions decisions negatively, where you might not be accepted or you may even have your college admissions offer rescinded. Even if you were accepted to a college early action or early decision, you have to keep your grades up because colleges will ask for your grades at the end of your senior year to check them. If your grades fall significantly, your admissions offer could be rescinded.
For an entire blog about senioritis, how it is dangerous, and ways to combat it, check out this blog.
7. Take Time for Yourself
And finally, you should be taking some time for yourself over these next few weeks. Applying to colleges is stressful and hearing a decision back from a school can be hard. If you were accepted, rejected, or deferred from your early action or early decision college, still go out and celebrate with some ice cream or cake. Applying to colleges is a massive feat within itself, so do not let the admissions decisions affect you too much. Keep pushing forward and put those final touches on the rest of your college applications. You are almost to the finish line, so continue to keep up the hard work!
Rachel is the founder of Study Hall College Consulting. Rachel graduated from UC Berkeley where she double majored in Cognitive Science and Legal Studies. For more application and essay tips, check out our Study Hall College Consulting website at: shcollegeconsulting.com.
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