Myth: If I’m Deferred From a School, I’ll Never Get In

Flickr user Justin Masterson

Depending on how you look at it, getting deferred by a school could be a load off your mind or extremely frustrating. You haven’t been declined, yet you haven’t been accepted, putting you in a difficult spot. You may have heard the myth that you simply won’t get into the college after being deferred. However, that’s not always the case and you may actually be accepted. Here’s what you need to know.

What Deferred Means

Getting deferred after submitting your early decision or early action college application doesn’t automatically mean you won’t be accepted. Your chances of acceptance at some schools may be lower, but it simply means that your application will be reassessed with the regular submissions.

Usually colleges will notify you of regular acceptance by March or April, but if you’ve been wait listed, you may not hear anything until August 1st, putting you in a difficult situation. However, deferment means that you are no longer obligated to attend the college if accepted even if you submitted your application under early decision.

The School May Just Want More Information

Sometimes being deferred means the school just wants to know more about you as a student. They are waiting to receive more information including your senior year grades, extracurricular activities, and other achievements. They are simply holding off on making a final decision.

There Are Steps You Can Take

Receiving a letter stating you’re deferred doesn’t mean you have to sit around waiting for their call (or letter in this case). There are plenty of things you can do to help improve your chances of being accepted and plan ahead in case of a rejection.

The type of college you applied to will have influence over the steps you take. First, talk to your guidance counselor. They may know exactly what to do that will help your chances of receiving an acceptance letter in spring. If the school is smaller, you may want to give the admissions department a call or write a letter to a larger university. Ask your counselor for assistance before doing this. You don’t want to call and say the wrong thing or annoy the admissions department.

You will also want to remember to send in any other information that may help your chances of acceptance. This includes your senior year grades as well as any new SAT or ACT tests you took if the score was higher than the tests you submitted previously. Recommendation letters and extracurricular activity information can also be included.

Plan Ahead

However, you want to plan ahead. There is a chance you will receive a rejection letter. It’s important to start planning now. Since the deferment releases you from the early decision contract, you are free to start sending out other applications. Apply to your back up schools. You can always attend your first choice school if you end up being accepted though!

Getting deferred from your dream college can be disheartening but it is not a concrete no just yet. Take steps to show the school you’re serious about attending (after talking to your guidance counselor first!), but also have a back up plan. Don’t wait on applying to other colleges, but don’t give up hope either.

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Hilary Cairns

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