A deferred application is considered again along with the applications submitted during the regular cycle. This complex alternative is so tenuous and uncertain that it is impossible to predict the outcome.
If you find yourself in this limbo, here are some guidelines for how to proceed.
1. Don't Panic. Remain calm.
Most likely, if you've been deferred your credentials are in the ballpark for getting accepted. If they weren't, you'd be rejected. So that's the good news. The percentages vary from college to college, but some students do get accepted after being deferred.
2. Find Out Why You Were Deferred
Unless the college asks you not to do so, give the admissions office a call and try to find out why you were deferred. Be polite and positive when making this call. Try to convey your enthusiasm for the college, and see if there were particular weaknesses in your application that you might be able to address. Practice before you make this call to the college's admissions office.
3. School Guidance Counselor
Your high school counselor can find out some information from the college admissions for you.
4. Be positive and Be Polite
As you try to get out of deferral limbo, you're likely to correspond with the admissions office several times. Try to keep your frustration, disappointment and anger in check. Be polite. Be positive. Admissions officers are remarkably busy this time of year, and their time is limited. Thank them for any time they give you.
5. Send a New Letter of Recommendation
Is there someone who knows you well who can really promote you effectively? If so, an additional letter of recommendation might be a good idea (but make sure the college allows extra letters). Ideally, this letter should talk about the specific personal qualities that make you an ideal match for the particular college that has deferred you.
6. Send Supplemental Materials
Many applications, including the Common Application, provide the opportunity for sending in supplemental materials. Try not to overwhelm the admissions office, but you should feel free to send in writing or other materials that will show the full breadth of what you can contribute to the campus community.
7. Update Your Information
Chances are the college will ask for your midyear grades. If you were deferred because of a marginal GPA, the college will want to see that your grades are on an upward trend. Also, think about other information that might be worth sending:
New and improved SAT or ACT scores
Membership in a new extracurricular activity
A new leadership position in a group or team
A new honor or award
8. Have a Back-Up College or two
While many deferred students do get accepted during regular admissions, many do not. You should do all you can to get into your top choice school, but you should also be realistic. Make sure you have applied to a range of reach, match and safety colleges so that you will have other options should you get a rejection letter from your first choice.
If you have been deferred but have new information to present to the college, you'll want to write a letter presenting the updates.
Remember, the advice above is general and that every college and university has its own policies when it comes to sending in additional documents. Check with your college.