All the Deets on Getting Deferred

It was a tough week to be traveling and have two out of my three kids sick. I could have planned better on the travel piece knowing how busy this time of year is for students hearing back about Early Decision and Early Action results. But I had no control over one kid getting Viral Meningitis last week and another one ending up in the ER yesterday afternoon.

The good news is that Max is completely recovered from that scary "M" diagnosis, and after fluids and lab work, Dotsie Bea is on the mend. As I recover from jet lag, mommy guilt, and the ER visit, I am hearing from students who didn't receive definitive answers like the Harberson family got. Deferred students are wondering why they were deferred from a top choice college, what it means, and how they should recover from this past week.

Recovery comes from knowledge. For anyone who has been deferred, here's what you need to know.

1. Read through your deferral letter.

The college usually provides key information about the applicant pool in the "early" round and how to update your application in the coming months. 

2. Do a Google search on the college's Early Decision or Early Action results to find out more details.
You will typically find that the college's student newspaper does an article on the "early" admitted class with data and statistics. If not, look for a press release from the admissions office about the results. The Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania released a blog post hours before the Early Decision notifications were released. It provides key information about the makeup of the admitted class.

"To find out more details about a college's Early Decision or Early Action results, Google it!" TWEET THIS

3. Consider having your "counselor of record" contact the admissions office for more details.
Once the dust settles, your counselor can sometimes get insight on your application and chances of admission during Regular Decision.
 
4. The mid-year report which has your first semester grades on it from senior year matters.
Make sure to finish up your end-of-semester projects and exams on a high note. Students who do exceptionally well senior year have a better chance of admission in the Regular Decision round. 
 
5. Once all of your Regular Decision applications are submitted, write a follow-up letter to the college that deferred you.
This letter should be an original—representing your unique identity and how you would fit into the college community. 
 
6. Include updated information about awards, accomplishments, test scores, and if the deferred college is still your top choice in your follow-up letter.
A lot changes from when a student submits their application in the early fall to now. Updating the colleges on how your senior year is progressing is important. And letting the deferred college know where they stand in your mind is even more important as they want to know how serious you are about them.
 
7. Your application will be reviewed once again in the Regular Decision round.
Admissions officers want to see how your application compares to the rest of the pool. Keep this in mind as you put together your follow-up letter. Make them realize in that letter that you are more distinctive than anyone else in their pool.
 
8. Ask a key member of your high school to write an additional letter of recommendation.
Letters from the principal, assistant principal, head of school, or even a senior year teacher can be a difference maker IF they know you really well AND they are willing to write the best letter they've ever written!
 
9. Be open to the other colleges on your list.
Once the disappointment of a deferral wanes, students start to realize that some of the colleges remaining on their list are even better matches for them in the end.
 
10. Keep busy with senior year activities, friends, and family.
You can't get this time back. 
 
The most profound moments of our lives often follow great uncertainty and disappointment. If everything in our lives turned out perfectly, we wouldn't grow as individuals. As much as it's difficult to hear about friends and classmates getting admitted in the "early" round, know that your moment will come and you will appreciate it even more because of what you've been through. It's been quite a week for all of us, but glancing over at my daughter coloring next to me as I write this reminds me that a little love from your biggest fans—Mom and Dad—is sometimes all you need to recover.