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How To Handle A College Deferral

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Zak B (12) at University of Pennsylvania campus.

Zak B (12) at University of Pennsylvania campus.

Zak B (12) at University of Pennsylvania campus.

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Being deferred from a college can be bittersweet because while you know that you still have a chance, you also  feel as if you are not good enough. Getting deferred from your top schools can be disappointing, but it’s important not be discouraged. There’s a handful of steps to take to improve the chances of getting in.   Typically, students apply for early action rather than regular decision. Early action allows students to know if they got into a college sooner, plus it might look better to the colleges. Many students will get accepted, yet if the college feels as if they are not a good fit for the college, then they will get denied. If a student is deferred, this means the college will hold onto their application and will be considered with the rest of the school’s regular decision applications. Being deferred allows a student to send in additional information to strengthen the application to determine their decision.   Think about the college and see if it’s still a top choice. Being deferred from a college can be an emotional rollercoaster and can change how you view the college. Determine if it is still the top school you want to go to, or if you are interested in other schools. If you aren’t as interested in the school you got deferred from, start putting more energy towards the other colleges. Kathy Chen (12) is beginning to go through this process after being deferred from Northwestern. Still staying positive, Chen openly talks about her feelings towards the school.    “I still like Northwestern, but I’m open to other options. I don’t have really have a top choice anymore. The one nice thing about being deferred is that you can explore other options,” said Chen.   If the college you have been deferred from is still a top choice, find out what the college needs from you. It’s important to still keep contact with the school and ask admissions what you personally should do to give yourself a better chance of acceptance in the regular round.   Send in updated grades and test scores. It is common to retake the ACT or SAT. If you improve your score from the one you originally sent to the college, it’s a good idea to send in your new score. Schools also might encourage students to submit a deferral letter.  Chen says, “It’s important to keep your desired school updated with your new achievements such as new extracurricular and grades.  It shows that you care and are improving yourself.”   The deferral letter should be a one-page email or letter written to your admissions representative for your college. Your letter should include why you think you are a good fit for the school and how you will impact the school. Zak Baumann (12) wrote a deferral letter to Penn State, “I thanked admissions for reviewing my application and told her that even though I got deferred, UPenn is still my top choice.”  He also asked for tips to make his application more competitive in the regular decision applicant pool.    Another important step is to revise your original application. This isn’t a common step, yet it is very helpful. Sometimes, after submitting your application the first time, you don’t catch the small errors, or you forget to mention an important factor about your life. Go back and read it carefully. Notice any errors or possible changes you can make to it. Also, if something that could benefit your application occurred after you submitted it, add it in somewhere. This can include extracurricular activities, improved grades or scores, awards, or jobs. It’s never a bad idea to resubmit your application, and it also shows how badly you want it.       Have you visited the college? If not, it’s extremely important to visit your top school, especially before regular decision. A campus visit is very different from a virtual tour. It will give you a new perspective of the college, which will also help you determine if the college is the right fit for you. This also can give you the chance to meet your admissions representative, possible professors, and current students.   Although this one college might always be on your mind, it’s important not to forget about the other colleges you were looking at. Start to apply to your backup schools because if you do happen to get denied from your top school, you will have your number two. Don’t devote all your time on the school you got deferred from and work on the applications for the other schools. Just remember, if you have been deferred, then denied from a school, know that it’s because it truly isn’t the right fit for you. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t give up. Look more into your second and third choice schools because those might end up being the better schools for you!

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How To Handle A College Deferral