Can I Reapply after Being Deferred from a College?

Can you reapply to a college if you've been deferred?

Flickr user Rusty Clark

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: rejection stings. Except, being deferred isn’t quite the same as being rejected from a college. When students apply to a school Early Access or Early Decision, they run the risk of being deferred rather than accepted. Deferral simply means they are postponing your admission result until later—with the rest of the regular applicants. No early decision, but it’s not a flat-out NO either, so that’s a plus.

Can I reapply?

For one reason or another, the admissions officers decided to pass over your application for now. Maybe you’re thinking: Can I use this time to revise my application or essay? Can I get additional letters of recommendation or update it with new activities?

Well, no. You’ve already submitted your application; you can’t go back and change it now. If you were deferred, it just means they’re pushing back your admissions decision to a later date, not that they’re tossing your application out so you can start over with the Regular Decision group.

Depending on how you see it, this could either be a good thing or an unfortunate one. You don’t get the chance to revise, but you also don’t get the chance to nitpick or over-correct either. A deferral doesn’t automatically mean that your application was bad. Perhaps there were just other students with the applications the school was looking for.

What should I do if I’ve been deferred?

Now is the time to focus on other applications—you shouldn’t apply to only one, after all! Use what you know about your ED/EA application deferral to fine-tune your other ones. Whether that means editing essays, writing new ones, seeking out additional reference letters, etc. get on it! Use your time wisely when it comes to applications, and make sure you’re paying very close attention to deadlines and requirements!

In addition to applying for colleges, you can spend this extra bit of time maintaining (or, ideally, improving) your grades. Regular school work shouldn’t slack behind during your search for a college. Your grades matter all the way up until your first day of college!

Keep participating in sports, clubs, leadership activities, community events, and volunteering, in the meantime—just be sure to strike a healthy balanced schedule. These continued staples in your life will help you in the long run—the more you stick with them, the more impressive they will look on both applications and resumes.

All in All

Keep in mind that a deferral is NOT a rejection. They didn’t say “No”, they said at most “Not yet.” You still have a very real chance of being accepted at that school or a number of other ones on your college list.

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