There is a meme floating out there that shows two distinct images of the path to success: one shows a straight, diagonal line pointing up from the bottom left corner to the right, and the other is a jumbled, messy scribble with the same starting and end points. 

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This image—which has proven so true at so many stages of life—is especially poignant in regard to the path to college success. Along the way to college admission, there are some official decisions from schools that students may discover: accepted, rejected, waitlisted, and deferred. 

Deferred admission happens a lot this time of year. When a student applies to a school as an Early Action or Early Decision candidate and they’re neither accepted nor denied right away, this is what is known as being deferred

As a parent, a teacher, and a college consultant, I like to think of this application status in the most optimistic way. Being deferred is like a, “Hang in there!” for a college bound student. Truly, being deferred means that your application is being moved to the pile of regular admissions applications in order to be reviewed further or considered again. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s indicative that your application is strong enough to hold up to this school’s pool of applicants. 

You’ve been deferred? Don’t worry. But do take some action. 

  • Be sure to read the letter that the institution has sent to you, and see if you need to follow up with a confirmation of interest. 
  • If you’re still interested, then do let the admissions office know with some positive communication. This is not to encourage you to call every day, but rather to confirm that you would still like to be considered for admission. 
  • If you’ve managed to bring up a grade or you’ve done more with your fabulous College Ready Passion Project, then don’t be afraid to update admissions on your accomplishments. 
  • Check all of your pathways to success by ensuring applications to other schools have been completed and submitted. 
  • Consider visiting some of the other schools on your list. A visit while school is back in session can really help students discover new, better things about schools on their lists.
  • Refer to the aforementioned meme; Being deferred may just be a stop on your curvy, twisty journey to success—wherever you end up.
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