Hamilton Gregg is the founder of International Educational Consulting and has worked in education since 1985. He helps students and their families understand their personal and educational needs and find the right school to meet their requirements. If you are a student or parent who would like to ask Gregg a question on our blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the middle of December students who applied early (decision or action) to universities learned whether their dreams had come true (accepted), were dashed (denied) or put on hold (deferred). If you were accepted congratulations to a job well done. If you were denied I send my sincere condolences. If you were deferred you are still very much in the game, and not alone: this year seems to be turning out to be a very competitive year for top universities in the US.
Those of you who were deferred – let’s get it straight: you were not denied! Deferred means that they really liked you but want some more information to help them make a concrete decision. In the next couple of weeks your school should be sending Mid Year results – grades from the first semester or term. They also want to see how you will hold up in the larger pool of applicants from the regular pool. While this may seem disheartening, remember that you have made it this far.
An important part of your next step is to send the school more information. Let them know what has happened to you since you submitted your application. Talk about an interesting project you did, any awards you may have won, leadership positions or activities you have been engaged in or anything new that shows you are working hard and doing well in school. If your grades have gone up, share that with the admission committee. If you scored higher on an SAT I or SAT II exam, share that also. This will give the schools a refreshed view of what you have been doing since November.
Another part of the update should be letting the school know that their university is still your first choice. While it may have been difficult to read the result, this is the time to tell the school why you are committed to attending their university. Be specific when you write about why the school is special to you. Let them know your positive feelings about the school, the academic program you are interested in, the community and why it is your first choice.
One thing not to do is to send inappropriate emails, cakes, or cookies, in an attempt to “persuade” the admission office. The admission office will delete the emails, eat the goodies and think nothing more. Some applicants send self-promoting materials like posters with their picture and the school in the background subtitled “I love [university name]”; these gimmicks end up in the trash. Take a mature approach, state your reasons succinctly and appropriately and then wait. It is hard and you feel a bit helpless. Just remember, once again – you are still a valid candidate.
There is a myth that if you have been deferred that you will not be accepted in regular admission. This is simply not true. Over the years I have had a number of students go from deferred to accepted. Remember that the admission committee has already seen your application – so you are familiar to them. If they liked you enough to defer you, with your added information it is entirely possible that you may get that fat envelope in late March.
Photo courtesy of flickr.com