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Are you a high school student pining after a particular undergraduate college abroad? If that is the case, you have an advantage. Early applications are a great way to get your name known among the admissions committees of your top choice colleges. It also might give you a higher chance of acceptance as relatively lesser people apply. And if you do get in, you can stop stressing about the university and focus on your high school curriculum. But first, let’s look at the two kinds of early admission processes.

  • Early Action – These are non-binding applications, meaning that if you get accepted, you needn’t commit to the college. You are free to apply to other universities, both early and in the regular pool. Just choose one within the deadline.
  • Early Decision – These are binding applications. If you get accepted, you must attend that school and withdraw all other applications. It’s ideal only if you’ve thoroughly researched the university and are absolutely certain that it is your top choice. The drawbacks are that you do not have flexibility in financial aid and might miss out on some solid offers from other colleges.

For reference lets quickly relate this to a timeline, early admissions for all students (including international applicants) open around November, while you are still in your 12th grade. At this point, colleges are only working with your previous grades and your extracurricular activities. The quality of students in early applications is often higher than the regular pool and yours should be strong too. You receive a decision latest by mid-December or even earlier. There are three kinds of outcomes that you can expect: Accepted, Rejected or Deferred.

Now, what is the difference between a rejection and a deferral? Rejected means that you have been denied admission by the college. Don’t worry, college applications are a complicated process, and schools are rather picky. Take a look at your school’s acceptance ratio, see? Many students get downright rejected. Now is the time to look at what might have gone wrong with your application, fix it and focus on getting into other universities.

On the other hand, a deferred college admission means that you’re almost there, but also not quite. The good news is that you still have a chance at making it, so let this be your guiding light. If yours turns out to be a deferred college application, it basically means that you haven’t been accepted in the early applicant’s cohort. However, they will evaluate you again with the regular pool of students that apply.

    Wondering why colleges do this? Here are some plausible reasons:

  • Your application is strong, just not strong enough. Students who apply early have good credentials, and you are essentially competing with them. Granted, you might have an amazing profile, and this is why colleges aren’t willing to straight-up reject you. Instead, they want to give you a second chance and evaluate you with respect to the rest of the class, in case you are relatively one of the better options.
  • The university already has a student with the same mix. Universities aim to create a diverse batch. So, if an application with the same score, similar extracurriculars or work experience has already been accepted, they are unlikely to pick you.

So if you get a deferred decision, don’t be disheartened. There are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of getting accepted.

  • Read the deferral letter
  • Does it ask you to fill a form? Be sure to fill it. Are they requesting a deferral essay? Or did they instruct you to sit tight and not send any additional work or emails? It’s important to follow their directions, and not doing so will probably work against your favour during the evaluation of regular applicants.

  • Do your research
  • Does the university that deferred you do this to a lot of applicants? Look for early applicant deferral rates of previous years for comparison. For example, Princeton defers a lot of early applications and rejects only a few. On the other hand, Cornell rejects many and defers very few. If this is the case with your dream university, it’s actually good news. You are more likely to get into these schools, and all you have to do is fine-tune your application.

  • Get Feedback
  • Is your essay not good enough? Now’s the time to polish it. Are your grades not high enough? You still have Class 12 grades to make it up. And if your co-curricular activities aren’t up to the mark, work on them. A deferral gives you a chance to work on your application for a second time and make it stronger. You can get feedback from friends, family, seniors or professional counsellors.

  • Update Email
  • If your university asked you not to send any more emails, this might work against you. However, if they specified no such thing, you might have a chance to get the admissions committee on your side through an update email. Here, you can talk about your recent activities, so if you’ve received any awards, certificates or have drastically improved your academics or SAT score, be sure to mention it. This email aims to show the university that you are serious about them and are still very much interested in getting in. Don’t send too many emails though, as this might seem needy.

  • A deferral essay
  • Some universities ask for this specifically but you can always send one by yourself. In this essay show how you’ve improved in the timeframe between early and regular applications. Before you do this, try to find out the weaknesses in your initial application, and spin them to your advantage. Also include university-specific details like school values that you relate to or a particular professor whose recent work fascinated you. This is another way to demonstrate interest in the university.

  • Try to interview
  • Send an email or contact the admissions committee requesting for an opportunity to interview with them. This way, you have a second chance at making an impression. Moreover, it shows that you are serious about the school and are willing to take every chance you get.

Following these steps might significantly improve your chances of getting in after being deferred from college. After all, you’re still not out, you’re just on the bench. At Jamboree, we’ve aided thousands of students to get to their dream schools, so if you want professional advice on your profile, we’re always here to help. Contact our counsellors for a one-on-one session today.

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