Receiving a deferral after applying for Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA) can be an unexpected turn in your college application journey. It’s natural to feel disappointed and uncertain about what steps to take next. However, note that the deferral isn’t a rejection; it simply means the admission committee needs more time to review your application in comparison to the regular decision pool.

Here are some constructive ways to navigate this situation:

1. Acknowledge Emotions: It’s natural to feel disheartened. Allow your student time and space to process these emotions. Encourage them to share their feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or mentor who can provide support and perspective during this time.

2. Understand the Deferral: Read the deferral letter carefully to determine next steps. Follow the directions. If the college asks you to fill out a form, do so in a timely, thoughtful way. If the college requests first semester grades, make sure they are sent. If a college specifically states not to send additional information, don’t send anything. Reach out to the admissions office if you have any questions about the deferral process.

3. Write a Strong Deferral Letter and/or Send Additional Materials: Some colleges allow deferred applicants to submit a letter reaffirming their interest and updating the admissions committee about recent achievements or any developments since the initial application. Students should craft a concise and genuine letter emphasizing their continued enthusiasm for the school and why they believe it would be the perfect match for them. Add any updates on meaningful accomplishments, such as improved grades, new achievements, new leadership positions, updated test scores, or even an interesting project being worked on in or out of school. Keep the tone positive; do not mention being frustrated or disappointed. Write no more than one page. Need help writing this email? Call International College Counselors.

4. Send in 1-2 Strong and Relevant Additional Recommendations: If the college will accept them, consider asking a coach, organization leader, or employer who can add new information to the student’s file. Look for someone who can add something new to the application. The best recommendations spotlight a student’s unique qualities and how they will use those qualities to contribute to the campus community.

5. Stay Positive and Engaged: Being deferred means that the college saw something good and promising in your application. Continue excelling academically and engaging in your extracurricular activities. Colleges appreciate students who show resilience and commitment despite setbacks. Keep pursuing your passions and interests.

6. Consider the Options: While waiting for the Regular Decision results, explore other colleges you’re interested in. Research and apply to a range of schools that align with your academic and personal preferences. Keep in mind the regular application deadlines.

7. Meet with an Expert Advisor From International College Counselors: For the best chances of acceptance, even with an Early Action/ Early Decision deferral, work with a dedicated and experienced team! Get help with essays, application reviews, and comprehensive plans.

8. Stay Flexible: Remember that a deferral doesn’t define your future. Keep an open mind about other potential colleges or universities that might be a great fit for you.

Being deferred doesn’t diminish a student’s worth or potential. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of timing or competition. Students need to stay focused, remain positive, and be proud of their accomplishments. The college admission process is simply one chapter in a life story, and there are numerous paths leading to success and fulfillment.

INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS TIP: When communicating with colleges, be polite, concise, professional, positive, and enthusiastic. Communication should always come from the student and not the parent.

WRITING HELP FROM EDIT THE WORK: Submit stellar admissions essays and/or deferral letters. Get one-on-one help from our sister company Edit the Work. Essays can make the difference between an acceptance, a deferral, or a denial. Email or call 917-969-8664.

International College Counselors

No matter where your family is in the college admissions process, International College Counselors can help you with every aspect, including adding to the college list, honing college applications, writing admissions essays, and managing college transfers. Call us at 954-414-9986 to discuss how we can support you and your family!


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