The Silver Lining of Denial/Deferral

As deferral letters came in and continue to do so, no doubt, there was disappointment as others celebrated.

As deferral letters came in and continue to do so, no doubt, there was disappointment as others celebrated. Take some time over the holiday to reflect and understand that a deferral is not a denial or a rejection. Your application is strong enough to move forward into the regular decision applicant pool (or, you may have been offered to move your application to EDII and that is a story for another day). For a regular decision, admissions wants to see where you fall with the rest of the applicant pool. From here, you could be accepted, waitlisted or unfortunately, denied. What is unknown from university to university is how many deferred students are admitted once their application lands in the regular admissions pool. 

What are you supposed to do now? 

If deferred, follow the instructions the school gives you (if they have sent you instructions). One university sent a lovely deferral letter essentially telling the student that her application was quite impressive but they were choosing to review her application with the Regular Decision applicant pool. They requested updated grades by March 1 and if she wanted to add any more information please send along with a note, and to check their website for additional information. It is important to follow these instructions. Don’t add anymore bells and whistles, and certainly, don’t stalk the admissions office. 

In addition to following the school’s instructions, it might be a  good idea to: 

  • Reach out to your  admissions rep, let the rep know you are interested in attending their university and you will attend if accepted in the Regular Decision round.
  • Send an update on current accomplishments: Grades of an upward trend, test scores, projects, awards, activities, perhaps another Letter of Recommendation- if they request it. 
  • Some school counselors send additional recommendations if warranted and if the specific school will accept these recommendations. 

Deferrals and denials come as a let down after extraordinarily hard work through high school, as not to mention the tedious work on the college application. The students I worked with this year came with exceptional profiles and by all rights had ‘all the right stuff’.  Denials happen and it won’t be the first time in one’s life this happens. 

Silver Linings

While  students have either been deferred or denied, some are delighting in the options available to them. These students have had positive results from other universities and are looking at silver linings. They have been accepted to outstanding universities with some good money. One student commented that she is using this time to explore options. Maybe there is a good reason to look elsewhere, maybe those other acceptances with good money offered are a ‘sign’ of some sort. Maybe the silver lining is that first choice deferral/denial means you were meant for somewhere else. We are fortunate to live in a country of thousands of higher education opportunities.

Deferrals and yes, denials  give students the luxury of looking elsewhere, finding a better match, and no doubt, if that list of schools is strong, every list on that school should be an excellent choice. You will go to school in the Fall somewhere, and it is where you are meant to be. 

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