Stay in the Game: Navigating Deferrals and Waitlists
While being deferred or waitlisted can be disappointing and in many respects can feel like a rejection, it is important to understand what being deferred or waitlisted means. A student can be deferred after applying Early Decision or Early Action and a deferral simply means that your application will be moved from the early pool and reconsidered with the regular applicant pool. Typically, a student who is deferred may still have a very strong application but the admissions committee feels they need to see a bit more from that student. Waitlisting typically occurs after the regular decision pool of applicants have been reviewed and the student is placed on a waiting list for a spot to open up in the class. While it does not feel good to be deferred or waitlisted, it does mean that that student’s application was strong enough to be seriously considered for admission because if it weren’t, the student would have been denied. With deferrals and waitlists you are still very much in the game but what you do from that point forward can make a significant difference.
So what should you do?
- Wait for the college to provide further instructions: Some colleges may ask for additional information or materials, such as mid-year grades or a letter of continued interest. Typically, you will find these instructions in your applicant portal so be sure to set yours up and keep checking for further instructions.
- You should consider submitting additional information to the college: If the college allows it (and you should check to make sure), you can submit additional information or materials, such as updated test scores, updated achievements or honors, etc…
- Be sure to write a letter of continued interest: Express your continued interest in attending the college and provide any new information about your achievements or activities since you submitted your application. It is very important that you not repeat information that you had already provided in your application as that could work against you. So what should you include in your letter?
- A brief introduction and background about yourself and your application while thanking them for their ongoing consideration of your application.
- A statement reaffirming your interest in the college and why you think it's a good fit for you. If this school is your first choice, do not hesitate to state that if admitted that you will attend but you can really only play that card once.
- Any new or updated information about your achievements, activities, or goals that were not included in your original application.
- Explanation of what you've done to improve your application, such as a higher GPA, new test scores, or new extracurricular activities.
- A statement about how you will contribute to the campus community. This is typically a short story or example that demonstrates and reaffirms important character strengths that you want the admissions committee to know about you.
- A closing statement expressing your continued interest in attending the college and requesting to be considered for admission.
- A thank-you note for the time and effort the admissions team has put into reviewing your application.
- State that you look forward to hearing back from them and that you are available should they have any questions and then provide your contact information. It's important to keep the letter concise and to the point.
4. Keep your options open: While you wait for a decision, it is also important to consider other colleges and universities as
backup options in case you are ultimately denied.
5. Be patient: Remember that the admissions process can be lengthy, so be patient and wait for a final decision.
6. Keep yourself updated with the waitlist status. Check your applicant portal frequently for updates.