For many high school seniors the holiday break was a time to work on final revisions of college applications but for some students who applied under early admission programs the eagerly awaited decisions arrived over the break. Under both the Early Decision and Early Action admission programs students typically get one of three results; admit, deny or deferred (rolled-over) to regular decision. The first two are easy to understand, students receiving a decision of deferral are often unsure of what to do next.
Many students apply in the early application rounds to their first choice colleges so there seems to be more angst over the decisions. Deferred students are obviously disappointed that they didn’t get the admission offer they were hoping for but they should consider their deferral as a second chance to make an impression on the admission committee. Most colleges will make recommendations in their deferral letter about what a student can do to supplement their earlier application. Interested students should definitely take those suggestions to heart. However if a college doesn’t offer instructions then it is perfectly acceptable to contact the admissions office to see what additional information might be useful to them.
Start with the student responding to the admissions office with a well worded letter stating their continued interest in the college (if in fact the student does remain interested). Most colleges will ask for the fall semester grades, any additional test scores or other updates since the application was originally submitted. Providing the college with as much new information as is available will strengthen the application for the next round of decisions. However remember this is supplemental material to the original application, not a completely new application. Hence you do not want to send materials that the college does not ask for or need.
The likelihood of gaining admissions when deferred to the regular applicant pool varies by college but is typically not high. However if the student has done his research of finding good fit colleges there should be a number of other colleges to which he is applying where he will gain admission. Not putting all your eggs in one basket is sage advice in the competitive and often unpredictable world of college admission. A deferral decision offers a glimmer of hope, but a student should continue to seek admission elsewhere and who knows, one of the other colleges on the student’s list might end up being the better option in the long run.