Deferred From Your First Choice College?

The biggest benefit of applying to college early action or early decision is knowing if you have been accepted early or not to a top choice school. Nothing is more frustrating than being deferred.

Getting deferred means the college is postponing its admission decision and will review your application with the regular decision applicants. You will find out in the spring if you’ve been accepted or rejected. You are in “application limbo.” Is there something you can do to increase your chances of getting accepted the second time around? Here are ten suggestions that might tip the scale in your favor.

  1. Treat yourself. You have worked very hard completing your applications, studying and taking your ACT or SAT exam, and earning your very best grades. Even during the pandemic, it the time to indulge and treat yourself to something special. Participate in a group Zoom game night with friends, order dinner at a favorite restaurant, and have several of your friends join you virtually so you can eat together over Zoom, enjoying some camaraderie with your peeps. Whatever it is, indulge yourself. You deserve it for all your hard work getting to this point.
  2. Review your options. Some schools will ask you to indicate if you want to be considered in the regular admission pool. If you are still interested, let the admission department know.
  3. Ask your high school guidance counselor to intercede. If the college is your number one pick, ask your counselor to call the school and notify them of that fact. While on the phone, the counselor can also ask what else you can do to heighten your acceptance chances.
  4. Assess your chances. Some colleges defer very few students, while other universities defer many. Contact the school to find out what percentage of deferred applicants win an acceptance letter. If the rate is low, prepare yourself mentally and review the other colleges on your list to determine which one is now your first choice.
  5. Write a letter to the appropriate college admission officer (find out if you don’t know). Explain why you want to attend and how you would be an asset to the college community.
  6. Update the school with any relevant information, not on your application. Include your first semester grades as well as senior year honors or activities not previously listed.
  7. Consider sending another recommendation letter or two. Ask if another recommendation letter would be helpful. Choose someone who can provide information about you not previously mentioned, giving greater insight into your character and personality. For example, if you play an instrument, ask your music teacher to provide insight into your musical ability. If you play a sport, ask your coach to give details about your sportsmanship and character.
  8. Look for connections. If you or a parent knows someone connected to the college – either faculty, administration, or distinguished alumni, solicit suggestions on proceeding. Your contact might lead to an offer to make a phone call or write a letter on your behalf.
  9. Visit (or revisit) the school. If possible, visit the school in person. Seeing it (again) will either highlight your desire to attend or help determine the school may not be the best place for you after all. If an in-person visit is not available to you, participate in webinars or virtual tours conducted by the college’s admission team.
  10. While there, you should go out of your way to talk to someone from admissions. Contact the school to determine if it will consider giving you a personal interview. Having an interview is an excellent way to show your continued interest in a school and, if possible, provide them with new information. Many colleges conduct virtual interviews over Zoom if you can’t attend in person.

If you have any other questions about selecting a college or the admissions process, please contact me through my website at or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!

Andrea K. Frimmer. M. Ed.
Prep 4 College Now, Inc.

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