What to Do When You’re Deferred From a College

4. Ask the admissions officer how you can improve your chances.

Don’t assume that making a huge, flashy gesture will impress the admissions committee. This plea to Yale for a college acceptance, a YouTube video that has had more than 40,000 views, didn’t lead to its desired outcome. It’s best to find out what supplementary information (such as additional test scores or new recognitions) your top school wants, if any.

“Supplementary materials can be helpful, but beware of overloading admission officers with too much superfluous information,” Wells says. “Contact the Office of Admission to find out what their preference is—answers will vary among institutions.” Admissions officers already have a lot to look at, and you don’t want to waste their time with repetitive or irrelevant information.

Many colleges will tell you they want new information. They’ve already seen your application, so they know your accomplishments. Have you recently won a notable award or received a special honor? Did you retake a standardized test and got a much better score? Then you probably have information that could help your application. Find out who reviews your application by calling the admissions office, and send this representative a polite, concise e-mail explaining who you are and describing your recent accomplishments.

5. Keep your grades up.

Hopefully you would be doing this anyway, but now, maintaining good grades is even more important if you want to show the college why they should admit you in the spring.

“Mid-year grades and updated test scores are the most often cited reasons for wanting to defer ED applicants to regular decision,” Wells says. “Improving one’s grades (or maintaining current improvement) often helps improve one’s chances for admission.”

While grades aren’t the only reason you may have been deferred, there’s nothing like a row of Ds and Fs to convince an admissions committee you’re not right for their school. Check out these tips for rocking your AP courses.

6. Stop worrying

Once you’ve done these steps, there’s nothing more you can do, so stop stressing! The decision is out of your hands, and besides, where you go to school isn’t as big of a choice as it may seem. Stop worrying about college and enjoy your last few months of high school.


Waiting is hard, especially if you were expecting to “just know already!” by now, but if you use this waiting time productively, you’re sure to end up somewhere great.