Deferred by College: What is it and what to do.

When you apply to your top choice college in the early application round you will get one of three responses, accepted (yippee), rejected (boo) or deferred (what?). In this article I’m going to explore what it means if you are deferred and more importantly what to do about it. 

What is deferral?

Deferral from a college means you are still in the game, the college has not rejected your application, rather that your application will be re-evaluated along with the applications they receive in the Regular Decision round. While being deferred is a disappointment it is also an opportunity to provide the admissions team with additional information that will strengthen your application.

It is also important to understand that if you were deferred from a college you applied Early Decision to, then you are released from and limitations on applying to other colleges and in most cases the binding agreement to attend the college if offered a place no longer holds.

 What to do next?

  • How do you feel about the college now? Sometimes a deferral is a time for reappraisal of your college choices. Take the time to think about all of the colleges on your list, is it still your first choice of college or would you prefer to put your efforts into making your applications in the next round stronger? 

  • Take the time to read the deferral letter thoroughly. When you first read the letter you might not take in anything apart from ‘deferred’ but in most cases the letter will have important instructions about what you can do and by when.

  • Consider submitting an additional recommendation. Many colleges will let you send in additional letters of recommendation. Think about who can tell the college something new about you, maybe a mentor or another senior teacher? 

  • Send a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI). This is your opportunity to tell the college that you still want to attend their college above all others and update them with all the things you have been doing since your original application. Typically you will want to provide an update on school grades, extra-curricular achievements and any other recent events that you want the admissions team to know about. You LOCI should also remind the reader why you believe you are a good fit for their college being as specific as possible by linking your comments to professors and opportunities available at the college. Make sure your tone is positive, it’s fine to say that you are disappointed to be deferred but perhaps link it to a renewed determination to do everything possible to be accepted.

  • Review your application again before you submit your applications to other colleges. Going back and re-reading your application critically after a period of time will somethings result in you spotting something that would benefit in being changed. Perhaps you could ask somebody who knows you well to read it and see if there is anything they think you have missed or make stronger.

  • Apply to your other colleges. Even though you have provided an additional recommendation, reminded the college how wonderfully you would fit in there and updated them with great grades from the end of term exams, the college may still not accept you. Just make sure that alongside doing all of these things you also submit your applications to other colleges on time.  

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