Deferred to your dream college? Five things to do ASAP.

By Paige Chapman-Layland

I have been asked tens of thousands of questions by my children. 

Some (“Will you read me another story/Should I clean the bathroom now/Am I your favorite child?”) are met with an emphatic “yes.” 

Still others (“Should I get a face tattoo/Do you want to watch this Blackpink video/Can I leave my fencing bag in the car overnight?”) are met with a speedy “no.”

Then there’s the gray area.  Sometimes I can’t (or, let’s face it, don’t feel like) giving an answer right now.  My kids have learned that if I say, “we’ll see,” I’m leaning toward a “no”… but may be swayed by supporting evidence.

If you have been deferred by one or more of the schools on your list, you’ve gotten a firm, “we’ll see.”

Now is the time for action.  If this school remains a top choice for you (and you should definitely give that a think or two), you’ll need to do some extra work to help turn this deferral into a “Join us!”

Here are some steps to take to turn this “we’ll see” into “welcome aboard”:

1.) Read the deferred letter/email carefully.  Often, the school in question clearly outlines steps you should take if you’ve landed in the grey area. Submit anything requested–updated test scores (or reason for their absence), 1st semester grades, the FAFSA, etc.

2.) Update your resume and share news of note with the admissions team.  A concise letter with bullet points is a quick and easy way to share your accomplishments.  DO NOT send something like this if the school clearly indicates that they will not review new material.

3.) If permitted, share additional letters of recommendation, especially from this year’s teachers.  You’ll want to choose recommenders who know your work ethic and your reason for choosing this school.  Use the Letters of Recommendation packet in your writing center folder to help with this task.  Be sure to thank anyone who takes the time to write a letter on your behalf.

4.) Continue to demonstrate interest in this school.  Open every email, attend virtual meetings and tours, send questions to a professor or department, and take advantage of interview opportunities.  Your enthusiasm for this institution shouldn’t wane while you are waiting.

5.) Don’t despair. If you’ve done the research and created a great school list, you know you have several other terrific options available to you. A ‘deferred’ letter might sting, but it isn’t the end of the world.  Remember that by this time next year, you’ll have finished your first semester of college, at a school you love.  

Read through this list but still aren’t sure what to do? IN–The College Planning Experts can help you make a successful plan.  We’d love to help–get in touch!

As both a college planning professional and mom of a teen, Paige has the inside scoop. Always.

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