We’re going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re looking for some actionable items to get yourself back on track. You’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you should do:
1. Finish all of your regular decision applications.
We know you’re reading this in mid-December and you’re heartbroken, but it should go without saying that this is a must. Pull yourself out of the sunken place and compartmentalize. We’re not saying it will be a fun two weeks, but you don’t really have any other options. At TKG, we work with a lot of students that were deferred and those students rewrite their common app essay. And you should consider the same. Be honest with yourself: it might just need a fine tuning but in most cases it needs a complete overhaul. The work you put in during these two weeks will be worth it.
2. Give yourself a week or two in January to decompress after you’ve submitting your regular decision applications.
You’ll need it after two weeks of late nights and stressful times. Taking time off will also help you with step three.
3. Reevaluate if your early decision school is still your first choice.
Now that you’ve ~stepped away~ from the college application process for a minute, check in with yourself. Why did you apply early? Is it still the only school you can see yourself attending? Sometimes being deferred is a blessing in disguise. Sometimes being deferred feels a little bit like freedom. Write down the reasons why you still want to go, and while you’re at it write down a few reasons why you might like attending the other schools you applied to. Was it the rankings? Did one of your parents go there? Did you just want to get the application process over with? Spend some time thinking about this before you move on to step four.
4. If it’s still your top choice, reach out to the school.
We call this a deferral package. It’s time to show the school that you’re still interested AND tell them what you’ve done since being deferred. This part is important: students that get in after being deferred have actually accomplished something since being deferred. They keep going. If you really want to get in to a top tier school, you shouldn’t drop all of your extracurriculars the second you hit submit on your application. Students that get in are genuinely motivated by and interested in their activities.
Reintroduce yourself to the college and reiterate the fact that X school is still your top choice. Tell them why you want to go there. Send your first semester grades and write about any accomplishments or expansions in your extracurricular activities. (Don’t stretch it, the last thing you want is to waste the time of the person your letter.) Include another recommendation letter. You’re now going to be evaluated with thousands of additional applicants, so spend time on this last step to try and help yourself stand out.
We work with a lot of students that feel stuck and hopeless after getting deferred. Reach out if you want to learn more.