Well, first of all, that does not mean you’ve been summarily rejected. For students who apply Early Decision or Early Action, deferral is a distinct possibility. What deferral means is that the school you’ve applied to wants to wait to compare you to the rest of the applicants. Your initial application didn’t quite meet the admission standard for positive consideration in the first round.
There’s still a chance, though! And you may get thrown into a period of anxiety as your fate hangs in the balance over the course of weeks or months.
To improve you state of mind and your chances, consider these steps:
- Don't push the panic button. If you weren’t rejected out of hand, then there was something about your application that made a positive impression.
- Follow up: Call the admissions office, ask for the counselor who signed your deferral letter, and ask why you were deferred. Does the counselor have suggestions about how to turn your deferral into an acceptance? Making such a call lets the admission counselor know just how serious you are. But if your letter instructs you not to call, then don’t.
- Got better test scores to provide to the school? Send them!
- Forward your midyear grades as soon as possible. (If you have let your grades slip, don’t bother….)
- Write a letter to the admission counselor who signed your deferral letter. Express your unflagging desire to attend, and why you believe the school would be a great match. No negatives, no whining. Let the counselor know about any new accomplishments not mentioned in your original application, such as activities, awards, and leadership positions.
- Send another strong, relevant, recommendation from a senior-year teacher that anecdotally proclaims your qualities that make you an ideal match. Be sure the school will accept such an additional piece of information. And be certain that this letter will be outstanding.
- Take a breath and relax. This may be an opportunity to re-think your choices; what you thought was going to be the perfect school may not be. Always think positively, which means this: be prepared to choose one of the other great colleges to which you have also applied and to which you will be accepted!