Deferred, Waitlisted…..What to do
So most Early Decision and Early Action decisions are out there, and many students are not getting the relished acceptance notification. Some are being denied, which does hurt, but you must not get bogged down with it. Please do not take rejections personally. There are far too many variables for you to take anything of this nature as a personal attack of any sorts. You have more options out there, and you will soon have choices. In over twenty years of working in this arena, I have only had one instance of person not getting into any school, but I will admit that the student only applied to one school. This is not recommended for anyone! Of course you must send off several applications. How many is usually based on a number of variables. At this point though, for seniors, it is the waiting that is stressful.
What if you got a notice that your application has been deferred? What do you do? Just sit and wait. Well, you can, but I have thoughts and plans for those who have been deferred. If you have been deferred by a school, it means that your metrics are worth reviewing, but not during the early process where there may be many more with different metrics, which are for that moment, more attractive. However, your profile is very interesting to the school. You are someone they want to give the time to review and understand. You, actually, might seem to be an excellent candidate for their school. So be encouraged with this status!
You can do a few things to make keep your profile up-to-date as you wait for the deferral to be removed and have your application reviewed. First, if you did not add any people, who are not teachers, for referrals or recommendations, do so now. Have your recommendations from coaches, employers, or even alumni you have known for a long time who can offer a reference for you. Please send these people a polite email request and forward a copy of your resume. Let them know how important this college choice is to you. Make it known that you really want to attend this college that you have been deferred.
If your scores were not the best, you could actually take the February or March test administrations and rush the scores to the college. No guarantees that these scores will be used, but there is no harm if you could improve your scores.
You can also send a follow-up note to the admissions office, thanking the staff for keeping you in the running, and sincerely, express your keen desire to attend the college. Any personal, heartfelt notes from students are considered a good thing! But showing up for an impromptu visit to plead your case is very much a No-No. Do not travel to the college to express your anxiety. Do your best to keep positive, work on your grades, and enjoy your senior year in high school.
What if you were not deferred but actually waitlisted? Waitlisted is something different because you have actually made it into the school by your metrics, but the school doesn’t have a place for you. How does this happen? Schools get so many applications and the schools only have so much space in each class, especially those where you will live on campus. There are only so many beds to put students. It is such a tough choice for the school to decide one person over another, when both are equally qualified. The school wants you, so please take this a positive sign. Most schools actually have a process for waitlisted students. Waitlists are not necessarily kept open through July, but some schools do keep open the waitlist until the week before the fall semester starts. Why? Well, every student accepted is not necessarily going to accept the college back, especially if Early Action or Regular Decision. The schools have historical records as to the percentages of students that will accept back. Some schools have this down to a science, which is really accurate. However, times do change, so this is never 99% accurate in reality. Last decade there was a global recession that hit people’s ability to pay a challenge; so, many schools had to be denied from the cost alone. Recently there has been a shift from the International front. Fewer International students are applying to US schools than in the past decade, which is a big plus for US students.
Typically, schools will ask students on the Waitlist, if they seriously are interested to fill out a form and some even ask you to write an additional essay explaining why you want to come, what you will contribute, and this essay cannot be similar to your application essays. Some might ask for two more recommendations, and such. Often, if you are waitlisted, you can call the school and find out where you are on the waitlist. If the University is very large, the waitlist could be several thousands of students. But if you are in the first 10th of the Waitlist, and this is school you seriously want to attend, you should make the effort to do what is asked by the school. Be forewarned though, some schools who decide to accept you off the waitlist, might give you only 48 hours to respond and you must submit your deposit right away. They have more people waiting, so they want your decision immediately.
So, at first glance, getting the news you are deferred or waitlisted might FEEL like a rejection, it is anything but! Be encouraged. If you want some specific support for your situation, contact us. Know that some schools are notorious for waitlisting or deferring alumni children, but pretty much these students never come off the list or get accepted. It is a gentler way to deal with rejection. Also some schools, even Ivy League, will actually wait all summer, going through the waitlist. I had one student years ago, who was waitlisted by an Ivy League school; she lost hope by 4th of July. Her parents had paid a deposit on a school in the south she was accepted and did like. Exactly 4 days before she was going south to start, the Ivy League school called and asked if she wanted a place. She was overjoyed as it was her first choice. So all her new hot weather clothes were swapped out of her suitcases and sweaters were added. The big drawback was that her parents lost their deposit to the other school. In the long run, they did not mind.