By Rebecca Joseph
I know it’s bittersweet to get deferred from your Early Decision or Early Action college! But you didn’t get rejected. They just want to look at you in the regular admission pool. Your chances of ultimately getting accepting are somewhat less than regular admissions, but you still have a chance. Here are some tips to help you make it through the holidays and through the beginning of the New Year.
- Diversify your college list. Take a look at your college list and make sure you have enough schools on it to which you have a great shot of getting admitted. You want many acceptances to arrive this March and April. Make sure to go to Naviance and update your list.
- Finish your other applications.
- Update your original application, including your activities and test scores.
- Revisit your essays and strengthen them. Perhaps a new story or essay idea will come to you.
- Prepare very strong supplemental essays. Research colleges in depth and see ways to use some essays more than once.
- Think about your letters of recommendation, can you add a senior year teacher?
- Send test scores to all other colleges.
- Prepare for alumni interviews.
- Submit each application as soon as you can.
- Plan to visit some of your top colleges this winter if you haven’t visited them already.
- Develop a marketing campaign for the deferred college. Now think deeply. If you know that you are in the range of admissions, then develop a four-month self-marketing plan. If you know that you were not in the range, then let it go and work on your other colleges. Please make sure each new piece adds to the depth and breadth of your application.
- Test scores: If you took additional tests in November and December and like your scores, send them to the deferred college. Make sure to let the admissions office know you sent in the new scores.
- Email: Write a short email to the admissions officer of the college for your region and express your strong desire to still attend the college. Do not restate all that you said earlier in your application. Instead express passionately your commitment to the campus. Commit to going there if you get in regular decision.
- Letter: Write a formal letter in February or early March updating the admissions office with your academic and extracurricular activity performance. This letter will include your first semester performance, exemplary academic projects, and major leadership accomplishments.
- Additional teacher recommendation: Ask a senior year teacher, who has not already written you a letter to this school, to write you a letter of recommendation. This letter should really emphasize your academic talents and why you will thrive at that college.
- Counselor contact: Get an updated letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor or even have your counselor contact the school personally.
- Alumni or campus interviewer: Contact your alumni or campus interviewer–if you think you had a good interview. Thank the interviewer again and then ask for any advice about moving from deferral to admissions.
- Updated resume: Consider updating the non-academic portion of your application. Though not required, an updated resume can always help. Just make sure anything you add does contribute in a new way to your application. Do not be redundant.
- Outsider letters: If you can think of one major person (non-teacher) who knows you extremely well and can witness to your leadership and initiative, ask that person to write a letter. Do not ask people who do not have major contacts with school to contact the school. Do not have anyone other than people who know you personally write letters. A perfect person is someone for whom you did a major project this year – volunteer leader, youth group – only someone who can attest to new work this year and who knows you really, really well.
- Visit: Visit the institution one more time and revisit the admissions office to remind them of your interest. Contact anyone in the admissions office whom you met in person or via email.
Please do not spend your time dwelling on the deferred school until you finish your other applications. There are so many other colleges where you will thrive. Understand that you will find happiness wherever you attend college!