Students who applied to colleges Early Decision and Early Action this fall have most likely heard from these schools by now. They may have been accepted (if this is you or your student, congratulations!), rejected (time to move on to other applications and choices), or…deferred.
What seems at first like a confusing, “no-man’s land” type of decision, deferral is increasingly used by colleges to help manage their applicant pool. It simply puts off the final decision until late March or April, and in the meantime the student will be evaluated along with the Regular Decision applicants.
Being deferred is not great; but it’s not a rejection, and it gives you, the student, time to consider all of your other options. Here are a few suggestions to manage your college application process while waiting for those final decisions:
1. Finish those other college applications with enthusiasm and energy. I’m assuming this has already been done, but you should treat every application with care, as if the school might be your “one and only”. This isn’t the time to skip proofreading supplemental essays, etc. Aim to put your best foot forward, always.
2. Follow through with any information admissions should have during the waiting period: first semester transcript, any additional awards, leadership positions, new activities, etc. You can send an additional letter of recommendation, if you think it adds to your profile. In fact, all schools on your list should have this information. Make sure your guidance counselor knows the situation.
3. Keep up communication with the school, but not to the point of being annoying. An e-mail to the admissions rep re-stating your strong interest, and a quick update, is appropriate. Calling more than once to plead your case or ask about your status is probably not.
4. Related to #2, keep up your schoolwork and aim for the best grades you can as the first semester comes to a close. These grades will be seen by all schools you are applying to.
5. Be hopeful, but at the same time, be open-minded. A couple of students I’ve worked with have visited a college that they applied to but hadn’t yet had the chance to see. Clearly there is a reason for each school to be on your list, and I have seen students’ perspectives change over these months of waiting.
Here is an interesting essay that ran recently in the NY Times “The Choice”, which underlines my points and adds a few more suggestions:
Next Month: SAT and ACT Test Prep Tips