Admit it: With the return of Early Decission policies at highly-selective colleges such as Yale University, Princeton University and the University of Virginia, applications have again surged. The continued rise in applications makes acceptances to colleges more difficult and students are finding themselves deferred to the regular admission pool. Although the regular admission pool will be competitive, there are actions that can demonstrate your strengths and abilities to the admissions committee. This week, we have received several calls from students uncertain about this course of action. Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to offer a few strategies for moving from deferral to acceptance.
Take Action. Within the first ten days, you will need to be proactive. Doing nothing will negatively affect your chances of admission. Take a deep breath and focus on the following:
- Every A counts. Mediocre grades do not fare well in college admission
- Boost your scores. Register immediately for the SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests. Even if you have to register as a standby student, higher scores will demonstrate your abilities to schools. Have these scores rushed to the schools of your choice. You should not report your scores if they are lower.
- Update your activities list. Additional awards and competitions will be discussed in admissions and benefit your application.
- Make contact. During the application process, you should have made a sincere connection with a few professors. Call or e-mail and explain your situation. Most will advocate for your acceptance.
- Call the admission office. Two to three days after you receive the deferral letter, speak with your regional admission contact. Equally convey your dismay about being deferred and your passion for the school. In addition, inquire about additional material needed by the committee to make a decision. This contact should be a phone call and not an e-mail. All calling should be made by the student and not the parents.
- Take a visit. One of the biggest mistakes in the admission process is not visiting the school. This puts applicants at a disadvantage. If you haven’t visited, make plans for a visit.
- Solicit School Support. A polite call from your school’s college counselor or head of school is critical. Ask both to call or write on your behalf.
Action pack. After most of your action items are completed, write a letter to the admissions committee. Schools should receive this letter within three weeks of the deferral decision. The letter should include significant information about your grades, awards and achievements since being deferred. Importantly, the letter should convey that the school is your first choice and how you plan to contribute to the school community.
Call to action. By the end of February, make another phone call to your regional admissions officer. During the phone call reiterate your desire to attend the college, highlight a few additional accomplishments and note your academic progress. Admission officers like to hear that your grades are superb.
Although a deferral letter can erode your confidence, remember that it is not a rejection. After a day to feel upset, you will need to advocate for your admission. Do not confuse being an advocate with being a pest. Over calling and e-mailing will have the adverse effect on your admission. Following the above strategies can help turn your deferral into acceptance.
Brian D. Crisp is an international educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor and administrator, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.