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Four things students should do if they are deferred from their dream university


College admissions early decisions are starting to come out, and some students might get an unexpected answer back: a deferral. 

A deferral is similar to the limbo of college admissions—you aren’t quite into the university, but you aren’t rejected yet either. When the university defers you, it means that the school sees potential in your application, but the admissions officers want to evaluate your application again during the regular decision cycle. 

If you do get deferred, here are four steps you should take.

  1. Decide if the university is still your top option. Is the university still your “dream school?” Or have things changed since you have sent in your application? If another school might be a better fit for you, this deferment has opened up your options for you, and a chance for you to reconsider your college list.
  2. Update your resume and LinkedIn. Think about your recent accomplishments, updated test scores, or accolades you might have achieved throughout the last couple of months. Our students send in not only a resume, but also their LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile serves as a portfolio to add any research papers, pictures from service projects, or videos of you performing an extracurricular activity. 
  3. Ask for another letter of recommendation. Ask a supervisor at an internship, coach, teacher, or manager at a job to write you a letter of recommendation. This recommendation should add something new to your application. Make sure you are asking someone who you have a close relationship with and can speak about the positive aspects of your personality. 
  4. Write a deferral letter. If you are still committed to attending the school, you should send a letter of continued interest. This letter should be about one page in length. It is important you send the letter immediately. The purpose of this letter is to demonstrate how you are now a stronger candidate for the university than when you first applied, helping to sway the admissions officers’ decision in your favor. 

How To Write The Deferral Letter

The letter must display your continued interest in attending the school. In the first paragraph, convey why the school remains your top choice. Don’t lie; only write a deferral letter if you are committed to attending. 

Next, describe your most recent accomplishments. Update the admissions officers on things that have occurred since you applied. You want to make your candidate profile stronger, and showcase why you would be a great asset to the university. 

Here are some examples of things to include: 

  • High test scores on standardized tests (ACT, SAT)
  • High grades in challenging courses
  • Accomplishments in extracurricular activities like music, sports, DECA, HOSA, Science Olympiad, National Honors Society, etc. 
  • Shadowing or volunteer hours
  • Independent projects, such as research

End the letter by restating why this particular university is the right fit for you. Don’t repeat things you’ve already mentioned in your supplemental essays or personal statement; be specific and personal. 

Once you have finished writing your deferral letter, email it to the admissions office. Do not delay sending it!

*Lindsey Conger is a college counselor for MoonPrep.

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