Waitlist/Deferral Strategies

Strategies When You Have Been Deferred or Waitlisted

If you have been deferred or waitlisted, it is important for you to take action instead of sitting back and waiting.

Receiving a notification that your top-choice school has deferred its admissions decision or has placed you on its waitlist can be very unsettling. If you have applied to a selective university through its early decision or early application process and receive a notice that your application has been deferred, it means that you will not find out whether you are accepted until the school completes its regular application decisions in the spring. If you are waitlisted, you will be notified in the spring, and you may end up never receiving a decision from the school. If you have been deferred or waitlisted, it is important for you to take action instead of sitting back and waiting. Going Ivy can help you to strategize and act to enhance your chances of eventual acceptance.

How Going Ivy Might Help

The experts at Going Ivy help students throughout the Valley with their college preparation, tutoring and application needs. We have helped students from many area public, private and charter high schools in the greater Phoenix area with tackling deferrals and waitlisting head-on. We can analyze your application materials and identify areas that may benefit from improvement. After tailoring your plan, we can then help you to put it into action.

Deferrals vs. Waitlists

Deferrals are used by elite colleges such as the Ivy League schools to put off their admissions decisions until the regular decision application round. Normally, people who apply via early decision or early action receive their acceptance or denial decisions in December, but students who are deferred will have to wait until the remaining acceptances and denials are sent out in the spring. Receiving a deferral can be upsetting because most students who apply to a school through these early application processes do so because the school is their top choice.

A school’s waitlist differs from a deferral because it happens in the spring when the regular denials and acceptances are sent out. Being waitlisted can be especially frustrating because you may not receive an acceptance until Aug. 1, or you may not hear back at all. This can leave you in limbo for several months. Whether your decision has been deferred or you have been placed on a waitlist, it is important for you to take some proactive steps.

Act, and Act Quickly

Some students think that the decision is out of their hands, and they do nothing when they receive a notice that they have been deferred or waitlisted. If you are proactive, you may be able to enhance the likelihood that your deferred application will be accepted in the spring or that you will be selected from the waitlist. The silver lining is that your school has indicated that it is interested in you if it does not outright deny you, leaving you some wiggle room.

Communicate with the right people

You’ll want to make certain that the admissions office keeps you in mind, but you should try to do so in a way that is not annoying. Call the admissions office to find out who your regional representative is. You’ll want his or her name and email address. Ask the school if they need any additional information to supplement your application.

Send a letter or email

You will want to send an email or letter to the school’s regional representative. In it, you need to express that you are still interested in attending the school, listing specific reasons for why the school is a great match for you. After this initial contact, make certain to send updates as they happen. If you’ve won an award or achieved other things since submitting your original application, be sure to include them.

Consider asking for additional recommendations

You might want to ask other teachers or people who know you well to write additional recommendations for you. Only do this if they can add to the information that is already contained in your application file. Do not inundate the admissions office with more letters. Only have one additional letter sent at the most.

Understand your chances and be realistic about them

You should understand that your chances of getting accepted following a deferral or waitlist decision are small. The chances for you if you have been deferred are much higher than if you were waitlisted, however. Yale reports that it admits approximately the same percentage of deferred students as it does other applicants during the regular decision period. You should think carefully about whether or not you truly want to go to the school as well as about your other options. There is nothing wrong with choosing to proceed with enrolling at another school if you are sitting on a waitlist.

Avoid gimmicks

Some students fall back on gimmicks such as sending poems, artwork or other things to admissions offices when they have received a notice of being deferred or waitlisted. If you engage in these types of tactics, understand that you are likelier to make the admissions office believe that you are a pest rather than to attract their positive interest. Avoid doing these sorts of things.

Going Ivy Might Be Able to Help

At Going Ivy, we understand how stressful waiting for an acceptance or denial can be. We have graduated from some of the best universities and colleges in the U.S., including Harvard. We understand what admissions committees look for when they are deciding students to admit and students to deny. Contact us today to schedule a consultation about your application and what you might add in order to change your maybe to a yes.

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