On being deferred

December 7, 2006

If you get deferred you may wonder what you can do to improve your chances of getting in when they review your application again later. Sadly there’s no magic answer. The best advice is to do the following:

1. Keep your grades up.

2. Write a letter to the admissions office stating your continued interest with any relevant updates on accomplishments, awards, new information.

Certain things will not help you get in if you’ve been deferred. My best advice is not to do the following:

1. Do not call the admissions office more than one time. You get one call. That’s all. Then you need to leave them alone. More than once can be annoying.

2. Don’t round up the alums. I’ve posted already about how ineffective it is when students call upon every distant friend, acquaintance, relative, former employer who may have attended the college some years in the past in an effort to get additional recommendations. I didn’t advice it then, and it’s not going to help now. Sure many students think, “well, I didn’t ask Mr Jones, Ms Mitchell and the next door neighbor when I first applied… and I got deferred… so what do I have to lose?” Sure, this is one way of looking at it. But there’s also the angle that these solicited letters, conveniently arrivingafter the receipt of the deferral letter stinks of desperation. If Mr Jones wants to write a letter upon hearing of your deferred status, he’s more than welcome to write – he won’t hurt your chances. Just don’t start going through your Outlook addressbook for contacts to write letters and petition the admissions office for acceptance.

3. Don’t send gifts/bribes.

4. Don’t take the opportunity to give updates as an open call to tell the admissions office of every goal you scored during the soccer season, your weekly GPA based on every quiz and graded homework etc. Students have done this. Not only is it not helpful, it’s puzzling that they would think it would be. Yes, you want to keep your name fresh in their heads and set yourself apart, but be mindful of the line between helpful and overwhelming.

5. Don’t yell and scream (at least not over the phone to the admissions office).

By the time they review your application later in the season you don’t want to be remembered as “that” student who sent that crazy package, made the multiple phone calls, sent daily letters or was so angry on the phone that you showed less than your best side.


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