You studied, prepped, and proofed your college application. You know where you want to go, so you submitted it early decision or early action. Now you've been deferred. What's next?

First of all: Congratulations! You're done with the hard work, and your application is already in the regular admission pool at your first choice college. A deferrral is disappointing, but take heart: It is also an indication that the admission committee thinks your qualifications are solid. They are just getting a sense of the full applicant pool for the year.

deferred application

What To Do If You Get Deferred:

Be Proactive

In late January or early February, compose a letter or email to the school and ask that it be included with your application materials. The letter should provide an update on your activities since the early application deadline. Include your first semester grades and any academic highlights, new developments in your extracurricular activities, and your plans for the rest of senior year. Request an interview if you haven't had one yet. Then, reiterate your undying love for this school above all others, all the reasons why you are a great fit, and your commitment to enroll if admitted.

Be Practical

Remain optimistic, but create your contingency plan. You already have the foundation of a great college application. You probably already have a list of schools that you considered on your way to choosing where to submit that early application. Revisit that list. Does it include schools that suit your interests and goals? Schools you can afford to attend? Schools where you're likely to gain admittance? Prepare applications for regular decision deadlines with the same attention to detail you invested in your early application, and submit them on time. Hold out hope that you get into your top choice, but aim for acceptance at a few other schools, so you have some to choose from in the spring.

Be Consistent

Keep your grades up! Now is no time for a senior slump, and juggling applications and schoolwork can be a challenge. Don't drop any classes, or switch into less rigorous courses. Stay focused. Ask for help when you need it. Prep for your AP exams in May. And don't forget to stay calm. Anxiety won't change your application. Keeping up with your extracurricular activities not only reflects your commitment and passion, it can help relieve stress!

Getting in is just the beginning of your journey. The habits you build while still in high school will carry through college, where your performance will dictate your future. And, many of your college courses will build on what you learned in high school, so it’s vital to stay on track.

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