You were hoping for a “Yes,” but you got a “Maybe?”. You’ve been deferred in the college admissions process.
While many students are disheartened after receiving a deferral result from their early schools, there are some actions you should– and must– take if you’d like the college to continue to consider your application.
1. Write a letter of continued interest
This is the single most important thing to do once you are deferred. A letter of continued interest is imperative in letting the school know you would still like to be considered for admission.
Typically, this should be the only additional piece of information you're sending the school unless they ask for an additional essay if deferred. This letter needs to differentiate you from other students and show why you specifically are a perfect fit for the school. At Solomon, our ivy league admissions consultants work closely with you to craft the perfect letter of continued interest.
The absence of a letter usually leads the university to believe that you are more interested in other schools and are not as committed to them as you once were. Below are some deferral letter suggestions:
Your letter should be addressed to your regional college admissions counselor (usually found on the website), or the dean and general admissions committee if you are unable to find a specific name.
Your letter should highlight the following points and answer the below questions:
(If true) “School X is my #1 choice, and if accepted, I will attend.” Schools are very concerned about their yield ratio and will only consider deferred students who they think have a high probability of accepting their offer of admission.
SHOW (don’t tell) why this school is perfect for you. This is your second chance to answer the “Why school X?” question, so give it your all. You may need to research the departments and professors again and dig into exactly why you chose this school.
One or two major life updates, if applicable. Do not repeat anything you’ve already discussed in your application. These updates should be items that occurred after you submit your application, but the admissions counselor does not want to read another essay about what your club did last year.
Take a bit of time to write a thoughtful, concise letter, but ideally, send this letter within two weeks of receiving your deferral result.
Your letter should be emailed to the admissions office and/or uploaded to your portal with that school.
2. Consider submitting another letter of recommendation
Generally, quality over quantity is a guiding rule for your college applications. However, some students may find that another letter of recommendation adds something new and important to their application after being deferred. This letter should come from someone who is shedding new light on your personality, extracurricular involvement, and/or interest in the school (rather than someone who is repeating the information already in your other letters). Some common examples of recommenders may include:
A teacher or leadership member at your school who has witnessed an item you mentioned in your major life updates in your letter of continued interest
Alumni of the school you are applying to who can attest you would be a great representative of the school and knows you personally
A mentor or boss from an internship or volunteer position who can provide an update on your work and progress
Remember, the admissions counselor has limited time to read your application, so you want to make sure that each piece of new information adds something thoughtful to your application.
3. Retake the ACT, SAT, or TOEFL
If you feel that your standardized test scores were not accurate representations of your abilities, you may consider retaking the ACT, SAT, or TOEFL exams. You’ll want to submit these scores as quickly as possible, so sign up for the first possible test you can and plan to send them in by late February.
4. Continue to focus on your high school grades
Many times students are deferred because the colleges want to see how they perform in more rigorous classes senior year. Your first-semester senior year grades are extremely important if you are deferred. Continue working towards straight As and show rigor in your course selection for the full year. Be sure to also ask your high school counselor to send an updated grade report to your deferred schools.
5. Add to your resume
Just because you submitted your first round of college applications does not mean the process is over. During your senior year, you should continue to seek out opportunities to demonstrate leadership and highlight academic abilities. Keep adding these awards, activities, and any other relevant items to your resume. You should submit your updated resume with your letter of continued interest.
6. Demonstrate interest in the school
If you haven’t visited the school you’ve been deferred at, consider going to campus or attending an official online information session. Look at the school’s website to see if there are any opportunities for tours with current students or virtual/in-person interviews. If you have specific questions, feel free to reach out to the admissions counselors, or even a professor in your major! These interactions will help you write a stronger letter of continued interest and show the school that you’re serious about joining their class.
While the deferral process may feel out of your hands, taking these actions can greatly increase your chances of being admitted after a deferral. Reach out to your teachers, mentors, and college alumni for additional advice, and spend some time thinking about what your application might be lacking. You could also look for professional assistance from a college admissions consultant. We've got a great team with rich and diverse experience, and we'd love to help! Contact us to learn more.