Happy New Year! I hope y’all have kicked off 2020 with health, happiness, and love. As we have left another decade behind and welcomed a brand new one, a lot has happened in the lives of many college-bound seniors who have heard back from their Early Decision (ED) schools. If you are one of those students, the chances are you have received one of the following decisions:
Admitted: In that case, congratulations! I am so happy for you! Your hard work and dedication paid off and granted you a seat in your top choice. Celebrate, own it, and be very proud of yourself. However, do not think your college admissions process is completely over yet. Far from it! You still have a whole to-do list to tackle:
- Set up your college portal with your official student ID assigned by your college. This will allow you to see all the important information and updates regarding financial aid, health records, your orientation dates, and class schedule.
- Set up your college email and start checking it regularly. Now that you are an official college student, all communication will be sent to your college email account going further.
- Locate the “Accepted Student” page for your college on Facebook. Most colleges will send you that information in their “Welcome Packet/Email”. Being a member of that group is a great way to connect with your classmates and find answers to your questions before arriving on campus.
- Continue your scholarship search. Ask your Guidance Counselor about the availability of local scholarships. If you are a member of a religious affiliation, reach out to them and ask if they offer any scholarships. Use an online search engine like StudentScholarshipSearch to locate scholarships based on your grade level, GPA, state, gender, and ethnic background. Your local Rotary Club might also have something in store for you. Just reach out to as many organizations as possible. Finding a scholarship is no different from applying to colleges: You can never apply to one! You need to apply to several scholarships to increase your chances.
Denied: I feel your pain, but trust me: this, too, shall pass. To be able to go through this tough time and move on, you can read my advice on how to deal with rejection in my previous blog post here.
Deferred: This one is not as black and white as the other two decisions, right? If you have been accepted to your ED school, you know that you are going to that college because you already committed to it with the binding contract you and your parents signed at the time of your application. If you have been rejected by your dream college, you know that it is time to move on to the next set of colleges. If you have been deferred, however, you feel confused, somewhat lost, and not even sure if this is good or bad news. You are not alone. Lots of students who have been deferred feel exactly the same way as you do right this minute.
Let me elaborate on the meaning of “deferral” before I can dive into some practical tips on how to act on it. As defined by the Miriam Webster Dictionary, “deferral” means “the act of delaying; postponement.” In the case of an ED application, it refers to delaying an admission decision until the Regular Decision (RD) results are released. There are several different reasons why colleges choose to defer rather than admit or reject an applicant. Your grades and/or standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, TOEFL, etc…) might not be good indicators of the potential you have. The college might have seen a spark in you and would like to give you one more chance to improve your grades and/or that SAT score. This might indicate that they want to compare your stats with those of the RD applicant pool. Another reason might be that they might have received more applications from legacies and student-athletes than they had anticipated. In order to let them in first, they might have had to defer some students who might otherwise have been admitted. There could be many more reasons that we cannot know about, so do not dwell on why you are deferred. Whatever the reason is, you need to be able to move on and take action to change that deferral to an acceptance (hopefully). Take my advice on what to do. First, start out by answering the following questions:
- Is this college still your top choice? Take some time and think about this for a couple of days. Do not let your frustration take away your love of the college. Sleep over it and try to visualize yourself in a college setting. Do you still see yourself on your ED school’s campus? Would you be terribly upset if you did not get into this school, or would you be happy wherever you go? If you decide that this is THE college for you, then keep reading this blog post.
- What does this college need from you (if anything)? Each college’s policy on accepting additional materials from students varies, so you need to check with your college and find out if you are allowed to send in supplemental materials (such as additional recommendation letters, updated transcript, recent SAT scores, awards, accomplishments, extracurriculars, etc…) that were not submitted with the original ED application. If the college does not accept any additional materials, do not send anything. Doing so would be detrimental to your application because that would label you as a student who is not following instructions. If, however, the college is encouraging you to send any updated information, then here is what you should do:
- Supplemental materials: Send your updated GPA, recent standardized test scores, additional recommendation letters, awards, accomplishments, and extracurriculars to the college.
- Deferral Letter: Write a one-page long letter that summarizes why this college is still your top choice academically and socially. Remember to talk (briefly) about all the recent accomplishments you have made. Make sure your letter has a very positive tone rather than a frustrated one. Show them that you are still in the game and will not quit until you try your best. If you need assistance crafting a deferral letter, visit our website and contact us today.
- Application Review: The deferral might have been simply caused by an error in your application and/or essays. If you feel this could be the case, make an appointment with me. I will review your application and essays for that college and identify what the problem might have been. Then, I will guide you in the right direction to address the mistake.
- Campus Visit: If at all possible, visit the campus even if you have visited it before. This will give you a chance to explore the school, meet your Admissions Representative, ask questions, and even sit in a class in your intended program. Along with the deferral letter, a campus visit will be very beneficial in showing demonstrated interest and let the college know that it is still your top choice.
- Regular Decision (RD) Applications: Get back on track and try to focus on your upcoming RD applications. There are many colleges with January 15th and even February 1st deadlines, so you still have time to submit a good application to some more schools. Again, I would highly recommend that you get professional help to have your application reviewed to prevent repeating any errors or mistakes that might have occurred in your ED application.
A deferral is not the end of the world. Sure; it is not fun to see that your dream college is making you wait, but hey! A deferral is still better than a rejection. If you want to increase your chances of admission, take my advice. If, at the end, your deferral turns into a rejection, well, there is a perfect college waiting for you out there! You will find out soon and call it your home for the next four years…
At EdMission Possible, we guide our students in the right direction by making sure that they stay focused until the end of the college admissions season. If you feel like you could use a little more motivation or encouragement, need help crafting a deferral letter, or would like to get a professional application review, call or e-mail us today to inquire about our college planning services.
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Founder and President | EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator. She completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession, in 2019. She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University. Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc. Burcak currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.