The DO’s and DON’Ts when Receiving a Deferral: The DO’s

Post By: COYD Staff

early decision collegeIf you haven’t already heard back from your early decision/action school, you will in the next few weeks. If you receive an acceptance letter, congratulations! If you receive a deferral, that still means you are in the running, like the regular decision applicants, so don’t let a deferral get you down. The only bad news is that there is still work to be done in the admissions process. If you have planned well, you already have your backup list ready and your applications 99% completed so you can enjoy the holidays. If you don’t, you need to get on that ASAP. In addition to the backup applications, below are the do’s and don’ts when receiving a deferral:


1. Keep your grades strong, if not better.

2. Write a letter to the admissions office with NEW INFORMATION.

Do not write a letter without offering something new. They obviously know by the mere fact that you applied early to their school that you are highly interested in their institution. So a letter reiterating your interest could come off as desperate. However, if you provide new information, then you have a reason to contact them.

When you do, I would highly recommend writing with a grateful tone. The admissions officers obviously still see something in you, so offer gratitude for their time in evaluating your application. You don’t have to overdo this sentiment; a simple “Thank you” will suffice.

When writing this letter, keep it short. The letter should not be more than one page. New information could include new awards, increased GPA, increased SAT/ACT score or new leadership positions.

You might have received a prestigious award in the last couple of months that the admissions office didn’t know about. Many fall sports state competitions occur after the early decision deadline, so if you received any awards, be sure to include them in your letter.

3. Be sure to stay on top of anything the school requires of you.

Check your mail/e-mail frequently during the holiday season and respond to their request in a timely manner.

4. Supplementary Materials

Maybe you didn’t have time to submit any supplementary materials in your early decision/action application because of the early deadline. This is a good time to submit something that will help you stand out. First, make sure that the admissions office will allow you to turn in supplementary material, and if so, create something that will wow the admissions officers and allow you to stand out from the crowd. For more information on supplementary materials, below are links to past posts:


5. Submit a new letter of recommendation if it’s better than the other ones you have already submitted.

Senior year does give you more opportunities to meet new people at school and in the community. Many times, if you are a leader in a club during your senior year, you are given an opportunity to become close with the faculty advisor or a leader in your community. I met a student who was the Treasurer of the youth division of their local Red Cross chapter, and first semester of her senior year, she worked directly with a prominent news reporter in her city that was a volunteer and was willing to write her a recommendation. That student was given an acceptance letter in the spring. Who knows if it was solely because of the recommendation letter, but I bet it helped. This student was proactive and had the courage to ask a local “celebrity.” Remember, it never hurts to ask. Most students miss out on great opportunities mainly because they are afraid of rejection.

Don’t sit on the sidelines and wait to get called into the game. Be proactive and make things happen for yourself. As you get older and graduate from college, you’ll realize that this skill will apply to many other important events in your life.


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