College Deferrals and Denials
Maryline Michel Kulewicz and Tracy Sullivan of College 101 Admissions Consultants
During these past several months, high school students have spent endless hours exploring college websites, visiting campuses, and preparing their college applications. Their efforts are becoming a reality as many students are now hearing from their chosen schools. Many colleges have sent Early Decision and Early Action letters over the past few weeks. There is much excitement when students receive good news, however, some will be disappointed.
The college process is not getting any easier for high school seniors. 2022 was one of the most challenging years on record. The number of submitted college applications soared at many selective colleges, partially due to the schools implementing test-optional policies, while acceptance rates shrank. Unfortunately, this resulted in a frustrating number of deferrals and denials. Our guess is that this year will not be any different. It is hard to not take it personally, but think of it in this way, in 2022 Yale University only offered acceptance letters to 4.6% of their applicants. So, focus on what can be done. Here is my message to students:
If you were DENIED:
• Give yourself time to grieve, especially if it was your dream school. It can be a challenging time and it is OK to climb under the covers and binge watch the entire series of The Office for 3 straight days. But on day 4, make a plan.
• You are still in the game. Review your college list and determine if you want to apply to some additional colleges. It is only January 1 and there are many colleges that have Regular Decision deadlines on 1/15, 2/1, and 2/15. FREE Resource: email us for a list of colleges with late Regular Decision deadlines.
• There are also tons of schools that would be thrilled to have you as a student, seriously, so take the time to review what college criteria is important to you (ex, major, location, size) and where you feel like you would genuinely fit in academically, socially, and financially. Three resources to help you in the college research: collegeboard.org, Niche.com, and/or check what is offered through your high school, such as Naviance.
• When adding new colleges to your list, make sure your list is balanced with more likely and probable than selective schools. In this very unpredictable admission landscape, it is important that you are invested and engaged with these colleges.
• FInally for any new schools, review your current application and add any new information from your senior year that is not currently in the common app (awards, updated grades, interesting project) and have a 2nd set of eyes review your application.
If you were DEFERRED:
• As an FYI, there are normally 2 main reasons why a college issues a deferral- for some students their senior year academic performance is critical in the decision-making process and the college wants to review the student’s 1st semester grades. Second, the student falls in the middle of the pack academically and the college wants to compare the student’s application to the overall applicant pool.
• However, think of being deferred as a 2nd chance at admission and another opportunity to show off your amazing talents.
• Meet with your guidance counselor and ask for feedback. They often have strong relationships with the college admission reps and will be able to provide critical insight.
• It is essential that you keep up with your studies - your grades are the top priority when a college reviews your application.
• The deferral letter will normally include the protocol for moving forward in the application process. If the letter states that they don’t want you to take any further action- then don’t. However, many schools will allow you to submit additional materials, such as a new recommendation letter, an updated resume, or test scores. You also may have the opportunity to include a personal statement to express that XYZ University is your top choice.
• If you are serious about the school, and they allow you to submit additional information- it is critical that you do it. Tip: when writing the personal statement be very specific by citing exact reasons why you and XYZ University are a good match. Also, take the time to research the school, such as, through their website or your favorite social media site. I would highly recommend visiting the campus in-person if possible or registering for a virtual tour.
• Finally, assess your current college list to determine if there are colleges already on your list where you can achieve your goals.
Remember, it is important to focus on what can be done, instead of dwelling on the “what ifs”. The goal of the college process is to find and attend a college that is a right-fit for YOU where you will be happy- and with a little extra work you can accomplish this goal.
Good luck and enjoy the journey!
College 101 Admissions Consultants LLC. Website: www.mycollege101.com. Email: [email protected].
Phone: (508) 380-3845.
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