What Are Deferrals & Best Next Steps if Deferred?

Posted on 17th January 2022

What to do if you’ve been deferred

If you applied early to a US college (via Early Decision, which is binding, or Early Action, which isn’t) then you will hear from the college usually sometime in December, but sometimes as late as February if you applied ED2, for example. The college will normally admit (great!) or deny you, but there is another potential outcome: you get deferred.

(Note that in some rare cases, you could also be waitlisted. This means they won’t offer you a place until after all the admitted students have made their choices, which could be as late as August but no earlier than May. Look out for our blog post on waitlisting coming up in April.)

What is a deferral?

Being deferred means that you haven’t been denied a place, but that the college will reconsider your application in the regular decision round. In other words, they’ve deferred you to the regular pool of applicants.

Is a deferral a good or bad thing?

Well, it’s a shame not to be admitted early, but it does mean you’re still in with a shot. The college thinks you’re not as competitive an applicant compared to the other Early applicants, but that there’s a chance you could be competitive enough compared to the regular applicants. They’ll decide that when they see all of the final applications.

What should I do now?

Don’t just wait and see. You should write a Letter of Continued Interest to the college; this should include your thanks (for continuing to consider you), details about why you would still very much like to attend, and details about anything that might have changed in your application. If your school grades have improved, for example, tell them that! Also mention any new courses you’ve taken, or achievements and awards you’ve gained. (And get your school to send an Optional Report in the Common Application in the case of grades or academic honours as well.)

Ask us for help with drafting one of these letters!

Also ensure you’re still demonstrating interest – that is, making it obvious that you are genuinely interested in that college. See our article here outlining what this means.

How much of a chance do I have of being admitted now?

It’s difficult to say, but probably no more or less of a chance than any other serious applicant in the Regular round. You shouldn’t assume that you have a better chance or that you’re just on the cusp of being admitted: you still have to prove yourself. Follow the advice above, stay positive, and work hard at school to maintain or improve your grades.

Should I apply to other places?

Yes! Being deferred tells you may not ultimately be competitive for that college or that that college might not be quite the right fit for you, so you should look at other places (and hopefully you already have a good college list going). You can still apply to other regular decision colleges until early February in some cases (though normally early January). There are also colleges with rolling admissions, where you can apply right up to May and beyond!

We help with crafting good, well-rounded college lists, and can also advise on application strategy. If you’d like us to help you, or if you have questions about the process, please get in touch.

Back To Blog »
Site Map | Terms | Safety | Privacy | Covid-19Web Design By Toolkit Websites