When Do I Send My Deferral Package?  

Getting a deferral is not ideal. But it’s also not game over. We’re sorry in advance for the corny sports analogy, but sometimes, you just need to take a Rudy approach to life and give it the old college try.  If your coach benches you, the last thing you want to do is accept defeat. The moment you are sidelined is the moment to give it everything you’ve got. Train harder than you’ve ever trained, keep up the drills, and get back on that high-protein diet. In this post, we talk about what you can do to stay in the game and how to make sure your timing is on point.

Getting Zen

If you receive a deferral from your ED school, do not panic. In fact, you should probably take a moment to center yourself. You worked incredibly hard to get here. Remember, nothing has changed. You still have the good scores, the grades, and the essays, and all of those elements will be crucial for what comes next. You’re just going into overtime and need to keep it all going for a little longer. So, before you enter into the final push, grab some Gatorade and get ready to fight.


A good athlete might remind themselves that they really do want to win. Consider whether or not you still want your ED school. If you don’t, that’s ok. You can focus on putting out killer regular decision applications. If you do, get ready to pound some pavement. But one other tip to note: at this point, you should start psyching yourself up about your other schools. Your odds of getting into your ED school have diminished. That’s reality.  It will be easier in the long run if you accept that you may end up at one of your other choices, and decide that it will be great no matter what.

Choose Your Timing  

A deferral package basically reiterates an applicant’s affinity for their ED school, and also updates a school on anything that has happened since they applied in November. You want the regular decision deadline to have passed before considering sending a deferral package. That way, the admissions committee will have a chance to really consider what you’ve sent instead of comparing it against a heap of regular decision applications. But waiting to send your deferral package also gives you the chance to compile everything you need to put in your package. The optimal time to send it is late January, early February.  

But First

Before you do that…finish all of your regular decision applications. Revamp your Common App essay. Do what you need to do to reassure yourself that you have plenty of options. We work with a lot of kids who get deferred and want some extra help reviewing their application for kinks. It really does require looking everything over with a fine-toothed comb. Be disciplined, and make sure your basics are solid.  

Develop a Package

A handful of students get in after being deferred. What sets them apart is not something that was already in their application, but rather, what they’ve accomplished between the deferral and the time they send their deferral package. Don’t lie and say you’ve done something in your extra-curriculars that you haven’t, but do tell a school that you kept going (if you did) and stayed committed. Secure another great letter of recommendation and put that into your package, too.  Above all else, schools also want to see that you stayed persistent in class. Senioritis is tempting, but you have to hustle until you’re sure you’ve reached the end zone.  Make sure your grades are stellar and give them a hail Mary to really consider.


A lot of kids panic about getting deferred. Set yourself apart and consult an expert in how to deliver in the 11th hour. Reach out to us.