What to Do If Your College Applications Are Deferred

ReflectingIf you applied to college under any Early Application deadlines this year, you’re probably anxiously checking your email to learn the result. Early Application decisions will be released by schools shortly, and there are a few things that could happen…

Best Case Scenario: You’re accepted!

If you applied under an Early Decision deadline, it means you are bound to attend, so it’s time to buy the school t-shirt and start planning your next steps! If you applied under an Early Action or Restrictive Early Action deadline, it means you can keep this acceptance in your back pocket and choose to explore other options if you’d like. Either way… congratulations!

Worst Case Scenario: You’re denied.

This stinks, and it will probably be really disappointing news. Take time to process your feelings and accept your fate, and then focus all of your energy on finishing compelling applications to the rest of the schools on your list.

Scenario 3: You’re deferred.

If you’re deferred, it means that the admissions committee thinks you are a competitive applicant, but they want to see how competitive you are against the applicants who apply under Regular Decision. They are deferring your application to the Regular Decision round, and now you will get their final admissions decision in March.

There are a few things you can do in the next few weeks to boost your candidacy. First and foremost, do not inundate your admissions representative with emails and questions. Take the time to craft your strategy and send them just one communication.

When you reach out, you should highlight any and all of the accomplishments and updates in your candidacy from when you submitted your application until now. Did you win an award? Did you earn straight As in your classes? Were you chosen as the Captain of a sports team? All of this information should be shared with them, as they can take it into consideration when reviewing your application against the Regular Decision applicant pool.

In the end, it’s not the end of the road if you are deferred. It’s important to make sure you submit other competitive applications in the meantime, but there is still a glimmer of hope that you’ll get an admit decision soon!

How to Successfully Ask for an MBA Admissions Deferral

AdmissionA deferral is when an applicant is admitted to an MBA program they plan to attend but they desire to delay their matriculation to a later date due to some sort of extenuating circumstance. (This is different than the official deferred enrollment programs that are offered at some schools, such as the HBS 2+2 Program, which you can read about here.)

A big part of applying to business school is affirming why right now is the ideal time for you to pursue your MBA, so when a candidate asks for a deferral, it kind of flies in the face of that statement. As such, deferrals are often difficult to secure at most top MBA programs.

Generally, when deferrals are secured at top schools, it is due to personal illnesses, deaths or illnesses in the family, or military deployment – essentially, extreme circumstances that are outside of the control of the admit. Financial or work related deferrals are more commonly requested, but they are also less commonly approved. If you feel that you really need a deferral for one of these reasons by all means request one, just know the odds of the deferral being granted will not be in your favor.

If you are going to make the request to have your business school admission deferred, see if you can have a conversation about your situation with the Admissions Committee in-person, or at least on the phone, rather than over email. This will add a personal element to your request and increase the chance that the Admissions Committee will make their decision in your favor.

It also helps if you can position the reason for your deferral as a once in a life time opportunity while reaffirming your commitment to pursuing an MBA at that particular school the following year, and reminding the Admissions Committee of how you will be able to offer more to the student community upon your eventual matriculation. Remember this is a difficult decision for the Admissions Committee as well. If the school admitted you, then they are invested in you becoming a part of their community, so engaging in discussions around a deferral is equally challenging for the Admissions Committee.

Make sure to follow up your conversation with the Admissions Committee via email, and include a special thank you for their consideration as well as a reminder of the above notes, as this request is ultimately outside of the typical application process. The best thing you can do when engaging in the process of requesting an MBA deferral is to be humble. Remember, you are making a BIG request that the school does not need to grant you. Being humble and appreciative of the consideration you are receiving can only help your chances.

It is important to enter this process understanding the limited odds you have to actually secure a deferral, so follow the tips above to increase your chances, and make sure you are properly evaluating whether the alternative to matriculating in the year you applied is worth the overall hassle.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.