December has passed and most early action decisions come out from colleges before the New Year. If you were a student who got a decision letter that said “deferred,” you are not alone.
I got two deferral letters from both of my top choices for college. When I saw the first one, I felt like it meant this was the end. But when I received my second deferral, I felt it just meant I had a second chance. This latter mindset is key to encouraging the effort that may decide your collegiate fate.
Don’t Lose Hope
Take a deep breath and remember your strengths. It’s possible the college will still accept you after reviewing your application again, so be thankful that you weren’t rejected. It’s easier said than done, but one way to make sure you keep pushing is relying on your friends and family.
Ask them to help you at this time in your life; ask them what they love about you, and how you make a difference in their lives. In doing this, you can both feel better in your position and gain a mindset that encourages self-confidence and determination. This new mindset will show in your application.
Do ALL of the Optional Submissions
If you want to demonstrate your interest in a college, go the extra mile. Submitting optional materials is one of the best ways to do so, but don’t leave these for the night before submission. If you really want to get accepted, you should do these optional submissions when you feel motivated.
Colleges can tell when things are forced, so that is the last thing you want to portray. Look at the prompts and have them soak into your mind over a couple of weeks. Give yourself time to think of great ideas to write about. Remember to write about what makes you passionate, and it will go a long way.
Write a Letter of Continued Interest
In order to let a college know they are still your top school, writing a letter of continued interest works wonders. Like I’ve said before, don’t force it, and write about why you love the school and are still interested in it. Don’t beat around the bush; be explicit and share specific courses you already have your heart set on. Talk about what appeals to you about the campus and the general student body; even name drop a few professors or students, if you have kept in touch with any of them.
Let them know what you have been up to that you weren’t able to put on your application in the fall. Whether it’s mentioning a new job, joining a new club, or being elected into a new leadership position, let them know you’re still working hard. If you think you haven’t done anything worth mentioning, you can always mention personal achievements like reaching that fitness goal or creating your best painting.
Thank Your Teachers and Recommenders in the Meantime
It is likely that your teachers and other recommenders were the ones who even put you in the running for a deferral. Recommendations go a long way, and it is so important to thank your recommenders. I believe that what goes around comes around, so if you show your thanks you will then receive thanks from others. Recommenders take time out of their busy days to write your recommendation, so it is important to acknowledge their part in your college application process.
In conclusion, give yourself that last push and exert as much energy as you can into passing that finish line. You’re so close, so don’t think about your odds of not getting in. It’s easy to fall into a dark place where you think about your chances of getting in, but it’s imperative that you not drown yourself in negative thoughts.
I’m not saying to always be positive, but I am saying to believe in yourself, remember who you are, and remember how lucky this college would be to have you in its student body.
Additional college application tips can be found in our recent article “Easy Tips to Ease your College Application Process.”