• AUTHOR: JOHN CARPENTER
     
    Did you, by any chance, apply to an Early Decision or Early Action program where you were deferred? Here is some advice I posted last year--it generated a lot of positive feedback, so I decided to post it again for you. 

    If you were deferred from an early program to Regular Decision then you have one more important thing to do. You need to write a brief letter to the admissions office to let them know that you’re still interested--unless, of course, you’ve changed your mind and decided to move on. And here’s what it should include:

    First, be honest. If you’re disappointed that you weren’t admitted in the early round, you can say that in your letter, but follow up quickly with a statement about being steadfast in your commitment to that school. (Okay, don’t use that exact language; “I am still steadfast about my commitment” sounds pretty canned. Use your own voice.) 

    Then, somewhere in the letter, let the admissions officers know that you are thankful for the opportunity to update them about your senior year. Include your fall grades and mention that your counselor will send an official mid-year report soon. 

    Tell them also about any progress you’ve made on significant academic work, any recognition you’ve received, or how your fall athletic season ended--in other words, give them a picture of how much stronger you are as a candidate by pointing out the things that have gone on in your school life since you submitted your application in October or November. 

    End by reiterating your enthusiasm for that particular college, and keep the tone upbeat, in order to leave a final positive impression. Remember: brevity and sincerity.

    Additionally, I think it’s time for a reality check about this particular college. When kids are deferred, it’s often for two very different reasons. One is that the admissions committee was interested in you, but they felt they needed to see more information to be convinced that you’re right for their school; the other is that you were too strong to deny and they were restricted by how many kids they could admit in the early round. 

    Of course, there are other reasons, too, but these are often the major factors that lead to a deferral. The problem is that we never really know which one applies to you. So, with deferrals, my message to students is to remember that admissions officers are interested in you and that’s good, or they wish they could admit you, but they’re restricted by the sheer volume of strong candidates, and in a way, that’s good, too--even though it might not lead to the final outcome you’re hoping for. 

    Therefore, now is the time to look at your list with a new set of eyes. Consider now that at each one of the colleges where you’ve applied, real potential exists for you to be happy, to be engaged, and to be successful. In a way, your world just got bigger and better. Embrace the idea that no matter where you end up, it will be a good thing, and that’s why you put each of the schools on your list to begin with.