Deferral: Everything You Need To Know

December 20, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Deferral: Everything You Need To Know

What is a deferral?

What is the meaning of a deferral? Some early applications are deferred to the Regular Round, where they will be reviewed as part of the regular applicant pool. This is done to avoid rejecting students with strong profiles who would be a good fit for the program. Simply put, a deferral is a second opportunity to be admitted. This enables colleges to make decisions on strong applicants while comprehensively viewing the applicant pool as a whole.

This could be an advantage for many students, given that the pool of applicants for Regular Decision is not as competitive as the early pools. Students taking on a rigorous curriculum in their senior year have the opportunity to improve their academic performance by having their graduation date postponed.

A promising first-semester report card in the senior year can significantly help a student’s chance of admission. This is because the grades that students earn and the level of difficulty of the coursework are the two most important factors that colleges consider when making admissions decisions.

Why do students experience being deferred?

Why was I deferred? These are the usual questions college hopefuls ask if they experience it. Various factors can contribute to a student’s Early Decision or Early Action application being put on hold until the Regular Round is completed. Frequently, it is to encourage students to provide additional materials, such as final semester grades, to see what else that student has been doing during their senior year. In other words, the goal is to find out what else the student has been doing.

a male student looking at his computer screen

Several exceptional applicants may be granted early admission. Still, the admissions committee may choose to postpone deciding on several other qualified candidates to give them more time to evaluate them in the context of the entire applicant pool. During the Regular Decision round, applicants can use this to their advantage by providing additional information on recent accomplishments, grade improvements, and other aspects of their application to strengthen their chances of being accepted.

When a student’s admission decision is deferred, it will be made at the same time as regular decision applicants, and the decision will either be “admit” or “deny.” When a college offers you a deferral, it indicates that you will still be considered for admission; however, the college will evaluate their application in comparison to the pool of regular decision applicants rather than just early applicants.

A deferred application indicates that the college wants to review it again with the pool of applicants who will be considered for the regular decision. This is not the same thing as being denied, and it does not indicate anything wrong with the application you submitted, even though it may feel like a rejection. The situation is quite the opposite.

The objective of the college is to create an incoming student body that is diverse in many ways. If you have been given a deferral, it is likely because the college wants to evaluate how well your application stacks up against those submitted by students who have applied using the regular decision process.

A deferral may be granted for reasons that have little to do with the applicant and more to do with the school. Because it is difficult for colleges to predict the makeup of their Regular Decision applicant pool accurately, this provides them with an additional resource they can use to ensure they are building a diverse student body.

What should I do after getting deferred?

So, you were deferred; what should you do next? Students’ applications may be deferred to a later round for various reasons. Before making an admissions decision, admissions officers may first want to see grades from the previous semester. Or the school needs additional time to decide on your application within the context of the regular applicant pool.

a female stundent reading a letter

Frequently, this is the result of schools considering their institutional needs as part of the application process. Other times, a deferral may be granted as a courtesy decision to ease the burden of the application process for particular categories of applicants, such as legacy applicants or development cases.

However, there is still a chance for you to improve your chances of admission in the regular round. This can be true regardless of the reason that led you to be deferred in the first place. If you are deferred, our counselors will give you some advice on what steps to take next.

1. Take another look at your class schedule

You should first ask yourself if this college is still at the top of your list. Your perspective on your early college career shifts as a result of being granted a deferral, particularly if you have had the opportunity to consider attending other colleges in the period since you submitted your application for admission. Take some time to consider whether this college is still at the top of your list of schools of choice and whether or not you want to put the majority of your effort into applying to other schools.

2. Determine what it is that the college requires of you

Certain colleges may require applicants to provide supplementary materials, such as an up-to-date grade report or test score. Students applying to other colleges might be encouraged to submit additional materials such as letters of recommendation, updated information on extracurricular activities, or a letter requesting to be deferred.

Students must investigate what is required by the college and what is appropriate to bring and pay attention to the institution’s preferences. Suppose you have been deferred from admission to a college and the college specifically states that you should not submit any additional application materials. In that case, you should not submit anything else. If students do not follow the instructions, they will have no chance of competing in the regular round.

3. Compose a deferral letter

You should compose a one-page email letter, send it to the admissions representative at the college who evaluates applicants from your high school and copy the dean of admissions on the letter. Follow up the email with a physical copy of the letter that you send in the mail. Your letter should:

  • Demonstrate that you are sincerely committed to attending the school at the top of your list of possibilities and make it clear that if you are accepted during the regular decision round, you intend to enroll (if this is the case). Even if you are unsure whether or not you will enroll, you should state that the college is still one of your top choices.
  • Restate the reasons why this school is the one that meets both your academic and personal requirements the best. Mentioning particular courses, professors, extracurricular activities, and opportunities demonstrates that you have conducted adequate research on the institution to which you are applying.
  • Since you submitted your Early Action/Decision application, you must keep the college up to date on all of the accomplishments you have accomplished, both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and don’t show any signs of frustration or disappointment.

4. Make an effort to acquire additional letters of recommendation

Request an additional letter of recommendation to be sent to the college if there is another instructor, particularly one who taught you during your senior year, or an outside recommender, such as a coach or employer, who can contribute new information to your application file. You can do this as well if something has changed in your life since you initially submitted your application, and the change is significant enough to warrant an explanation from your deferral.

5. Complete additional standardized tests.

If your scores on the SAT or ACT are considered to be one of the weaker aspects of your application, you might want to sign up for an additional test or two. Standardized test scores still matter, as demonstrated in our previous posts, and improved results can go a long way toward improving your chances of admission to a particular institution.

a female student staring at her laptop

Suppose you are thinking about taking an additional exam to increase your chances. In that case, the best time to do so is in January or February, before admissions officers at the colleges you are interested in have made their final decisions.

6. Visit

Take advantage of this opportunity to tour the campus of your top-choice institution of higher learning if you have not done so already. A visit to the college’s campus is one of the best ways to determine whether or not the institution is a good fit for you and to demonstrate that you are interested in attending. During your time on campus, you should make an effort to do the following:

  • Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the admissions representative handling your application.
  • If it is possible, attend some classes and ask to speak with a professor before or after the session.
  • Meet and talk with students currently enrolled at the school by having lunch in the on-campus dining hall.

7. Include on your current resume

Look for ways to improve your standing and get more recognition. If you’re a writer, you should consider submitting an article to the newspaper in your community. If you excel in mathematics, consider participating in a competition. If you are an artist, look into opportunities to exhibit your work. Receiving a prestigious award, competitive scholarship, or other comparable honor can frequently help applicants on the edge of acceptance.

8. Keep submitting your applications to colleges that accept regular decisions

While working to improve your chances of admission at your early college, make sure you remember your regular decision applications. You should take the time to address the deferral and provide additional information if warranted, but you should devote only some of your time to working on it. First, complete the required steps, then move on to completing the rest of your applications in time for their respective deadlines.

a male student smiling to the camera

Now you know more about deferral, you will need guidance to ensure you get into the college you want to enter. At AdmissionSight, you will be guided as needed in that step. You can get all the right information and guidance from experts from AdmissionSight. Start your journey today with an initial consultation.





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