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College Planning Blog

You’ve Been Deferred—Now What?

by Kevin Krebs on December 29, 2017 in College Admissions Counseling

If you’ve been deferred from a university, don’t panic. The world isn’t coming to an end.

For some reason, students often get really down following a deferral—they’re so disappointed that it paralyzes them. To that I say: A deferral is infinitely better than a denial. You’re still in the game, and the key is to focus on the positive. You can still prove yourself with the college, notably by taking these steps:


  1. Finish Strong

In the case of a deferral, a college is interested in your seventh-semester grades—it wants to see how well a student performs first semester senior year. If you end on a high note, that means a lot in the eyes of admissions officers.


  1. Bring Something New to the Table

Have you garnered some sort of award or honor in the time since you submitted your application? Have you undertaken an initiative that involves philanthropy or fundraising? Have you come up with a new idea for an extracurricular project you had been working on? This is a perfect opportunity to add something new to your application that enhances your “standout factor.”


  1. Roll Out Another Letter of Recommendation

Some, though not all, schools will accept an additional letter of recommendation. I suggest this to students, but with a caveat: Only submit another letter if it brings a new wrinkle to the discussion. A letter that simply rehashes what already has been said about you won’t help to build a case for why the school should accept you.


  1. Write a Letter of Intent or Interest

Don’t play this card unless the school is your top choice. The letter is meant to demonstrate your unwavering interest in the college. It declares: “I’ve been deferred, but I’m not deterred. I’m still super-interested in your school. Attending this university remains my top goal, my dream—and I would appreciate your continued interest in my application.” There’s no need for the letter to be longer than a paragraph.


Kendall Hayes is a College Counselor at Partners For Achievement. Read more about Hayes and the rest of the Partners For Achievement team.




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