Applying early decision to your dream college allows you to demonstrate your interest in attending it, which counts in many instances. It also allows you to get a notification earlier than most other college-bound teens.
But there’s a possibility for you to receive either a denial or referral instead of a much-desired acceptance.
It’s perfectly fine to get in touch with the college after a denial or deferral. However, it’s best done through email and only for the right reason. Denied students may ask how they can improve their applications for the next admissions cycle, while deferred ones may point out that they are still interested in attending.
Scared that you may get a letter of denial or deferral anytime soon? Keep reading this post.
Below, I will discuss some of the most important matters students who apply early need to know about being denied or deferred by the colleges of their liking.
You will learn the key differences between these possible outcomes as well as some of the things you may and shouldn’t do just in case you fail to get an acceptance letter.
Let’s kick things off by answering this important question…
What’s the Difference Between a Denial and a Deferral?
Being denied means that the early round application will no longer be considered throughout the admissions cycle. Meanwhile, being deferred means that the early round application still has a chance to be considered when it’s time for the admissions officers to review regular decision applications.
Applying early can lead to 3 potential outcomes: acceptance, deferral and denial.
It goes without saying that no one who applies to his or her dream school through an early admission plan wants to get deferred or denied. But there is no denying that getting deferred is better.
Simply put, a denial means that the institution has refused to consider your application — it has rejected it during the early decision round and it’s not going to consider it during the regular decision round.
So, in other words, your application has been denied by the college during the particular admissions cycle.
A deferral, on the other hand, means that the school’s admissions officers have not accepted your application during the early admission round. However, they will take a look at it again during the regular decision round.
Technically, a deferral is a maybe — you are neither rejected nor accepted.
While it seems similar to being waitlisted, being deferred is an entirely different thing. When you are waitlisted, it means that you will gain admission only if space becomes available, such as when an accepted student decides to enroll elsewhere.
When you are deferred, meanwhile, you will be accepted if your application is deemed better than others.
Can You Reapply After Being Denied or Deferred?
Early round applicants who get denied or deferred cannot reapply. Denied applications will not be considered by admissions officers within the admissions cycle. Deferred applications, on the other hand, will be automatically reviewed again during the regular decision round — no reapplication necessary.
Before anything else, there is something that all college-bound high schoolers need to know during the college application season: per admissions cycle, they can only apply once to the same institution.
So, in other words, rejected students may reapply to the same college only during the next admissions cycle.
Students who get denied during the early round may apply to other colleges of their choosing as they have plenty of time to gear up for the regular decision round.
But they cannot apply regular decision to the school that has denied them. Well, they can reapply. But they will have to wait for the next admissions cycle to arrive.
Those who get deferred, meanwhile, no longer need to apply regular decision to the same college because a deferral, as earlier explained, means automatic inclusion of one’s application in the regular decision round.
But it doesn’t mean that it will guarantee an acceptance letter — like other regular decision applicants, they can receive either an acceptance or denial or, in some instances, a spot on the waitlist.
Because of this, deferred students should also apply regular decision to other colleges to increase their chances of getting an offer to enroll.
What Should You Do After Getting Denied or Deferred?
Denied or deferred early applicants may get in touch with the college via email to ask how they can increase their admissions chances the following admissions cycle (if denied) or report improvements in grades, test scores, essays, etc. (if deferred). Applying to other colleges regular decision should be done, too.
It can be disheartening to apply early to a college because it’s your ultimate dream school only to get either a denial or deferral instead of a much-anticipated acceptance.
However, it should not be seen as a sign for you to end your pursuit of an undergraduate degree.
Feel free to be upset upon getting the bad news — cry if you want, for it can help lift your mood.
But don’t stop there, as there’s another round of admissions waiting for you: the regular decision round. It’s not just when rejected that you should apply to other colleges RD but also when deferred because a deferral can result in either an acceptance or denial.
After being denied, immediately gear up for the regular decision round — but at other colleges. In terms of the college that denied you during the early decision round, you can:
- Send it an email and ask the admissions officers about the things that can make your application more competitive for the following admissions cycle’s early decision round.
- Forget about the denial and start applying RD to other schools.
You can also contact the early decision college that deferred you if you want. This is especially true if you are still interested in attending it despite what happened.
If so, feel free to email the admissions office to point out that it remains your top-choice school. Don’t forget to show your gratitude for getting deferred rather than rejected.
Here’s the most important step to take if you are still interested in going to it: report any recent achievements and submit any better materials to the school to show that you are what they are looking for.
But don’t forget to apply regular decisions to other institutions as you communicate with the early decision school.
Just Before You Contact the College Who Denied or Deferred You
Getting deferred during the early admissions round, simply put, means there’s hope. That’s because your application will automatically be added to the pile of regular decision applications and reviewed by the admissions officers once again.
And just like the rest of the regular decision applicants, you can get accepted, rejected or, at times, waitlisted.
Meanwhile, getting denied during the early admissions round means it’s the end of your quest to get an acceptance letter from that particular college — well, at least during the same admissions cycle.
You can always try to reapply to it the following admissions cycle, needless to say.
Getting in touch with the college via email is completely OK. But make sure that it’s for the right reason.
When denied, politely ask the admissions office about the things you can do to improve your application and make it more suitable for acceptance the following admissions cycle.
When deferred, let the school know you are still very much interested in attending and send updates such as better test scores, grades or letters of recommendation.
It’s completely okay to feel frustrated, but don’t let that early admissions decision devastate you — there is never a shortage of good colleges and universities in the US you can apply to regular decision!
Can colleges take back an offer to enroll?
At any given time, colleges can rescind the acceptance of an admitted student. Some common reasons for it are poor performance toward the end of high school and disciplinary actions such as suspensions and expulsions. Before revoking an offer, colleges will get in touch with the students concerned.
What are the chances of deferred students getting accepted?
Depending on the level of selectivity of the college, it’s not unlikely for only 5% to 10% of students deferred during the early round to get accepted during the regular decision round. But students can increase their chances of getting accepted by improving their applications significantly.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.