You got deferred, now what?


Selective colleges and state schools that offer early action/decision saw record numbers of applicants this fall. I think this is a result of the anxiety around college admissions and the fact that test scores are not required this year. Getting deferred is a terrible feeling (I know, it happened to me- there was a lot of chocolate consumed in December of 1991), but there are things you can do to help yourself.

If you were in this pool and got deferred, you might be asking yourself what do I do now? If you want to move forward, I recommend taking action once your other applications are complete (the admissions officers at the colleges were on break in December too, and there isn’t any huge rush to follow up).

  1. Understand the landscape: Each college treats deferrals differently. Stanford hardly defers anyone, while Georgetown defers everyone. You can usually find these numbers published online, or you can call the admissions department and ask. Your next steps might depend on the school you were deferred from.
  2. Decide if you want to move forward: typically if a student applied early decision this was their first choice school, but maybe things have changed since they applied.
  3. Write a love letter (seriously): check the online portal and read exactly what the school says- do they want you to keep in touch? Have they asked for new information? I recommend reaching out and updating the school with your fall grades, maybe another letter of recommendation from a senior year teacher, and any test scores, awards, or other updates. Then write a letter telling the school how much you love them and that they are still your #1 choice.
    I had several students who had the opportunity to take the SAT and didn’t receive their test scores until the deadline passed at their ED/EA school. If this is you, and you did well, make sure to send your SAT scores.

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