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What To Do If You Get Deferred

Some early admissions decisions came out this past week. Hopefully, you got some acceptances, but I would be surprised if you didn’t get any deferrals to regular decision. I tell all my students who get deferred (which are a lot of them!) that I got deferred at MIT and still got in regular decision. I know deferral can be very disappointing, but besides my own experience I have had many students get in regular decision after deferral. Here are a few tips to help you and your students as you approach your deferrals.

1. Consider Outside Help

This can be a really confusing and stressful time. This year especially, decisions are even more unpredictable. Most applications are due in a couple of weeks. You might be asking what went wrong that led to your deferral or what else you could have done with your application. The college admissions process is very random and many great students are rejected because they come from the wrong state or have the wrong demographics for what the school is looking for at that time. Don’t automatically throw out your whole application! This can be a great opportunity to get a second opinion on your essay or application if your student didn’t have a teacher or coach look through it originally. I’ve helped lots of students re-evaluate their applications after deferrals and get into their dream schools. Sometimes you just need a fresh pair of eyes.

2. Rethink Your List

Whether your students were accepted, rejected, or deferred from their top choice, now is a really good time to think twice about their current college lists. You want to make sure your student’s list has a good mix of reach, match, and safety if they were deferred or rejected. If your student was accepted to their top choice, they might call the whole process quits. If your student was accepted to their top choice safety school, they may be able to eliminate some of the safety schools they were planning to apply to via regular decision. It’s important to make sure the schools on the list are all places your student can imagine spending the next four years. If your students hasn’t been accepted anywhere yet, they may want to add in some of those less competitive schools with amazing merit scholarship opportunities, like one of my favorites, UMiami, or less competitive schools with great honors programs. 

2. Start Preparing Your Update Letter

Again, I want to stress that deferral is NOT the same as rejection. It IS important, though, that you let these schools know that you are very interested and update them on everything you’ve been up to since November. Some schools, like MIT, have a specific form to update them that comes out in mid-January. If the school doesn’t that specific form, prepare a letter updating the admissions committee of any accomplishments since you submitted the application in November and reiterating your desire to attend. I always encourage students to start pulling together those updates, including awards, research or service results, competition results, etc., now in a Google doc and continue to add to it throughout January. Don’t send it out right away. I usually recommend waiting until late January so you can capture any accomplishments that come in through January. If you know you’ll be getting some results in early February, don’t send it until you’ve gotten those results. As long as it’s sent by mid-February, you’ll be fine. 

Hopefully these tips will help you and your student handle deferments and rejections. If you have any last-minute questions, feel free to contact me at jessica@impresstheivies.com.

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