What to Do If You’ve Been Deferred


Over the years, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to get into top colleges as they are receiving increasing numbers of highly qualified students during the Early Decision/Early Action (EA/ED) process. As a result, many students may be deferred, which means that your application will be reviewed during the regular decision round.

There are numerous reasons why you could’ve been deferred. For example, you were considered a borderline applicant, which means that your application was generally pretty good, but not spectacular. Thus, college admissions officers hope to review your application again, and see how you compare relative to students in the regular decision pool. Furthermore, colleges would probably like to see your senior year first semester scores before making a decision.

While it may be hard to get a deferral letter, have heart! Here’s what you can do if you’ve been deferred:

  1. Carefully read your deferral letter, as each school’s deferral letter is different and may contain unique instructions on next steps. Follow their instructions as described.
  2. Respond to your deferral notification and let the college know that you’re still interested. How do you do this?
    • If the deferral letter notes that you should log into an online portal to submit your response, you should do it this way.
    • Otherwise, you should write a letter to the college, notifying them of your continued interest in their school, how you’re a good fit and updating them of any new information.
  3. Strengthen your extracurricular activities. Colleges like to see concrete accomplishments, so this will be an important time to develop your extracurricular activities in a way that’s unique, deep and meaningful.
  4. Consider retaking standardized tests to get higher scores
  5. Work with your guidance counselor/teachers to prepare updated letters of recommendation.

If you still have more questions about how to overcome the deferral process, feel free to contact us! We will provide individualized, one-on-one guidance to help you navigate this complex process.