Many colleges offer a variety of application deadlines including Early Action, Priority, Early Decision, Regular and Rolling. Students select the deadline plan that works best for them. There are advantages to applying early; most notably, early applicants will receive their admissions decision earl(ier) in the process. Applicants should carefully weigh their application deadline options. Applying early isn’t the best move for every applicant.

Students who apply under an Early Decision deadline can expect to be admitted, deferred or deniedIf a student is deferred, it can be the college’s way of offering a “soft landing” for an applicant (not an outright rejection; but not an admission either) or can be because the school feels it needs more information to make a final admission decision. The student can remain hopeful for a different outcome, but should also become excited about other schools. Put another way: Instead of trying to predict what might happen with the deferred school, applicants are wise to get excited about the offers of admission they get.

What Can I do If I Have Been Deferred? 

Students who apply ED should be a strong academic fit for the school. Once a student is deferred, she can email her admissions representative to express disappointment about the decision, reiterate her interest in the school and perhaps share any additional compelling new information that wasn’t included in the application. Students can politely ask if there is anything specific they can/should do to increase their chances of being admitted. Deferred students should NOT whine or complain. They should not send a barrage of emails to the admissions representative, nor should a parent get involved. Ever! Students should continue to update their admissions representative ONLY IF there is new and compelling information to add to their application. Checking email daily is also highly recommended for ALL college applicants. 

The college application process is a time to be open to all kinds of options and to remember that one’s worth can never be defined by someone who doesn’t know you. This is a time to practice grace and humility and to know when to move on.