Deferred Admissions Decision
Your application has been deferred. What happens next?
What is Deferment?
If you applied to a college or university through Early Decision or Early Action and you are not accepted, your application has probably been deferred. It can be a frustrating situation, but don't lose hope! What it means is that your application is being placed in the general pool and will be reconsidered at some point.
Even if a school isn't highly selective, admissions will be competitive to some degree. There are plenty of qualified applicants for the incoming freshman class and the admissions department does its best to select the best ones for the school. This is why they exercise deferment instead of just rejecting you. It leaves room for qualified students to be given a second look later in the year, when their applications can be judged in context of the entire pool.
What You Can Do
If you've been deferred and you know you still want to attend this school, should you just sit and wait to get a response in the spring? No. Now is the time to be proactive!
Write a letter to the admissions department stating your continued interest in attending the school. If you have any recent accomplishments, awards or citations that happened after your original submission, now is the time to tell them about it. Don't include every single thing you've done and don't overdue it. Make sure your letter is respectful, positive and to-the-point.
A well-written letter will set you apart from other deferrals and signal your seriousness about attending that school.
If you've developed a good relationship with your high school guidance counselor, you may want to ask him or her to make a phone call or write a letter on your behalf. This is a safer route than a call directly from you. Your guidance counselor can advocate for you in an effective way, but only if he or she has specific information to work with. If you've been deferred, go in and talk to your counselor and see if this is a viable option.
What You Should Not Do
What you should not do is express frustration or any sort of disagreement with the deferment decision. This will always come across a whiney and negative. The admissions counselors are experienced professionals who made their decision for a reason. Asking them to reconsider will get you nowhere. On the other hand, if you keep your letter positive and forward-looking, you have a better chance of impressing them with your professionalism and dedication.
Phone calls are not advised, unless you have a specific question. You're not going to reverse a deferment decision with a phone call. It's very unlikely that you're going to catch the correct person on the phone and impress them right there on the spot. You even run the risk of coming across as too aggressive or annoying.
Keep Everything in Perspective
Most importantly, don't get too frustrated! College admissions can be competitive and challenging, but deferral is not the end of the road. If your grades and test scores are in the school's range and you put the necessary work into your application, you still have a good chance. If not, you should have applied to a number of other schools that are realistic alternatives for you. If you did your homework and developed a good list of schools, you'll be accepted to one that is right for you.