Next steps after receiving a deferral decision

First, let’s define what it means to be “deferred.” With an admissions deferral, the college has decided to postpone your child’s admission decision to a later date and will reconsider or review the application with the Regular Decision applicant pool. In the meantime, you and your child need to reassess their college list in preparation for the “worst”: a rejection. As hard and evil as that sounds, it is often for the better. When a student gets rejected, it’s like a band-aid getting swiftly ripped off. It’s painful at first, but then it’s over. When a student gets deferred, the band-aid gradually gets peeled back and every single scab and pinch of skin can be felt. In short, it takes too long. 

When our students get deferred, I want to be optimistic that they still have a real chance of admission. I want to believe that it’s not merely a “courtesy” defer, something to make them feel good in the interim but really just a slow burn to the inevitable rejection. Often I suggest that the student strongly consider Early Decision 2 somewhere else, if they have a strong second or third choice. It’s not a formula necessarily, but it’s often a way to minimize the damage and still possibly “win” in the end. 

Deferral Tips

Ask your child, is this still your top choice? Understandably, receiving a deferral admission decision can stir up a lot of emotions and could potentially influence how one wants to continue to view the college. So, you and your child need to discuss if this is still their top choice and if and how you want to proceed.

Complete and submit Regular Decision applications. Whether the college remains their top choice or not, it is imperative that they submit Regular Decision applications to other institutions on their list. 

Determine what the college needs from your senior. If the college remains their top choice, they should write an email to the college indicating that. We have a template if your child needs help. Let’s meet to discuss the letter and options.

In short, they should send updated midyear transcripts and grades, send new test scores or supplemental test scores or a combination of the aforementioned. If the college explicitly states that they do not accept additional materials from deferred applicants, do not submit additional materials.