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Steps to Acceptance: Getting Off the Deferral List

Don't panic if you've been deferred from the college of your dreams! Instead, become proactive to ensure you get off that deferral list, building a stronger application one step at a time.

Kaitlyn Specht

December 26, 2014

Steps to Acceptance: Getting Off the Deferral List
If you applied Early decision or early action, you are likely receiving your decisions right about now. I recently received my own decision and it was not exactly the way I wanted it to be. I had visions of telling my family all the wonderful news, just in time for the holidays. Instead, I have to tell them this: my application was deferred. Although this is clearly not the decision I had hoped for, it is not a total loss. After all, I still have a shot, right? Spring seems like a long way off, but it will come soon enough.

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Don’t panic if you are in the same boat. Now is the time to dig in your heels and secure that spot with just a few key steps.

Talk to Your Counselor

My counselor is always my go-to contact. The next day after I found out that my application had been deferred, I went to see her. She sat down with me for almost an hour, pin pointing exactly what I needed to do. Your counselor will be able to do just that. He/she knows the ins and outs of the admission process and can whip up a personalized plan to boost your chances.

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Bring all your application materials to show him/her and come up with a few ideas on your own in order to make good use of your time. Then brainstorm together how to fill in the gaps on your application. Worst comes to worst, your counselor will know some other schools for you to look into. I had only applied to one school, blindly believing that I had good enough grades and test scores to secure my position.

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When I received my deferral letter, I had no idea where to begin looking and thought I was stuck commuting to the local college in my area. My counselor, however, showed me that I really have more options than I thought. Your counselor is a professional and knows how to get you into college. Trust his/her advice and you will be well on the path to acceptance.

Make a Phone Call

Perhaps the college you applied to wanted a little more information in a specific area. By calling the admissions office, you will be able to clarify some things for them, like why you did not take another AP class when there was one offered, why you did not do so well in your biology class, why you did not do a fourth year of track, or whatever the case may be. Remember to be polite and take their advice seriously. Do not be offended when they give you the reason why you were not accepted right away. Stay calm, explain your position on the matter, and thank them for their time.

Build Your Resume

If you’re lacking a few extracurricular activities or need to show leadership, start looking into sports or clubs to get involved in. Volunteer work is always welcomed by colleges. Show that you are serving on a regular basis and get your site leader to write a recommendation. Think about your talents and hobbies and take them to the next level. If you are into art or crafts, try to get your work on display. Remember to continue to update the college with your progresses.

Retake the ACT/SAT

With senior year expenses, it may not be a pleasant thought to pay for another ACT or SAT test. But if your scores are on the lower side of the average or could be improved a bit more, take it again. Your acceptance could depend on it. For some extra help preparing, take a look at some of these Fastweb articles on test prep: Preparing for the SAT/ACT
Last Minute SAT and ACT Prep
Overcoming Test Prep Stress and Anxiety
Those are just a few examples of the many helpful test prep articles on Fastweb – there are many more, likely on topics to suit just about any test prep need!

Don’t Forget about Your Grades

So senioritis might be kicking in and you are slacking a little bit. Colleges can tell! They will ask your counselor for updates on your grades so be sure to keep them up. When things are going well, ask your counselor to fax the college an up-to-date report. While deferral is not what I had expected or hoped for, there are still ways to improve your chances. With some hard work and a good attitude, things will turn out for the better. Whether that is getting in to this college or finding a dream school elsewhere, things will start to fall into place.

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