What is Deferred Admission?
Deferred admission occurs when a student has applied to a college either through Early Action (non-binding) or Early Decision (binding) admission programs, and they are neither accepted nor denied admission. Instead, they are “deferred”. See Application Deadlines for more information about Early Action and Early Decision plans.
Notice of deferral does not mean you are on the wait list. A deferral notification means that the school is not in a position to admit the applicant in the early round, but considers the student to be a strong candidate. The deferred student will be added to the college’s regular pool of applicants and will be considered a second time through that process. Usually colleges will notify students of their deferral in mid-December.
Students who wish to remain competitive through this second round of consideration, should maintain contact with admissions representatives to re-affirm their continued significant interest in the school.
If you are deferred:
- Stay calm. Remember, a notice of deferral is not a rejection and can be a great opportunity to let the college know some additional information about you. Tell the school that they are still your top choice, if they truly are, and explain why that is true.
- Update your application with any new material you feel would be helpful. For example: an additional letter of recommendation, honors or recognition, continued rise in grades from first to second semester, etc.), new accomplishments or awards in activities and competitions since you first submitted your application.
- Be sure to send your first semester senior year grades.
- Consider contacting, or having your counselor contact, the school to see if it would be helpful to provide any specific information or explanations about you based on their initial reading of your application.
- Keep good perspective on the admissions process. If you have a balanced list of schools where you have applied, you will have a wonderful choice of campuses no matter what happens to the deferral decision.
While disappointing, applicants should not be too disheartened by receiving a deferral letter. The relative rates of admission for Early and Regular Decision vary greatly from school to school and most competitive schools fill the majority of admission spots from the pool of Regular Decision applicants.
Many Early Decision or Early Action spots are filled by students with some particular talent or quality that the school is seeking (athletes, musicians, diversity, etc). Schools will admit some students that have been deferred, so the waiting game continues until Regular Decision notifications are sent out in late March.
It is important to know that once you have been deferred by a college, you are no longer bound by that school’s early application rules. You are free to consider any offers and financial aid from all colleges that you have applied to.
To learn more about how many Early Action and Early Decision applicants are taken by the colleges you have applied to, contact the school directly or view the Common Data Set for more information.