If you applied in the Early Round of admissions (Early Decision or Early Action), you have probably heard back from your schools by now. If not, you should be hearing very soon.
What should you do if you were:
Congratulations! You did it. Enjoy the rest of senior year. You now know that you're going to college next year.
If you applied Early Decision, which is binding, it's time to rescind any other applications you may have already submitted. If you haven't submitted any other applications yet, then you're all set. No need to apply anywhere else. It's time to send your deposit to your ED school.
If you applied Early Action, which is non-binding, be happy that you have one or more schools in your back pocket. If you would attend your EA school(s) over any other schools that you haven't submitted yet, there's no reason to submit any more applications. Save the money. You still have a few months to make your final decision. Make sure you are able to afford your EA schools before you stop the entire process.
Obviously, this is a bummer. Remember, don't take this personally. I know it's hard to accept, but there are other great schools out there. Hang in there and keep the faith. The main admissions process has not yet begun. Try to be patient. I know you want this whole thing to be over with already, but you've still got a few weeks to go.
Welcome to Club Limbo. This is also a bummer - but with a positive spin. In general, it means that the school really liked you, but didn't love you enough to accept you early. It happens. A lot. It means that the school wants to re-look at your application alongside the Regular Decision applicants.
Here are some common questions:
Will I get "extra credit" for being deferred from the Early Decision round when compared to Regular Decision applicants? Don't count on it. It may vary by school, but most schools don't have a special "deferred" pile of applications that are treated differently. Assume you will be put back in the Regular Decision pool process.
Do I have a better chance of getting in Regular Decision if I was deferred?Not necessarily. Again, it depends on the school, but most don't necessarily give an edge to deferred packages. In fact, there are some schools that defer every single Early Decision/Action applicant that they don't accept in the early round. In fact, some schools intentionally defer all applicants of alumni even if they have little chance of getting in during the Regular Decision process.
Should I re-do my Common Application essay or other parts of my application? I wouldn't. Unless you put very little effort into the Early Round application (which I doubt), I would stick with what you have. Spend your time with the supplemental essays, which many colleges weigh more heavily than the Common essay.
Should I re-do my target list of schools? Not necessarily. Hopefully, you created a balanced list of schools. Remember, most "early round" schools are reach schools for most students. The competition is brutal. Just because you got lukewarm news is not a reason to panic. Make sure you have some match and safety schools that you love and drive on. Pay attention to the supplemental essays.
Should I call the school? Yes, but not yet. Do not call to ask why you got deferred or what else you need to do to get accepted. Do not let your parents call on your behalf. Do not allow your parents call and impersonate you (yes, it happens).
HOW DO I HANDLE BEING DEFERRED?
I hope this has been a helpful guide.
Author: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.
Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.