Although it’s been a whole year since I’ve had to play the waiting game that is applying to college, I remember it all too well. I remember the stress that was deciding what to write my Common Application essay on, trying to figure out what colleges to apply to, filling my FAFSA out, asking for letters of recommendation from my teachers and to top it off, preparing myself for the emotion-filled goodbyes that came with graduating. Even so, any high school senior knows the agony doesn’t stop there. Even after undergoing every tedious and time-consuming procedure, a big, fat envelope with an acceptance letter buried inside to the college of your dreams is never actually guaranteed. After all of the fuss, sometimes all you’re gifted with is a deferral.
Receiving a deferral essentially means that your application will be reconsidered and a decision will come at a later date from the college. Getting deferred from a college is an emotional rollercoaster for everyone. After all the hard work one puts into their college application, it’s simply heartbreaking to be told “thanks, but no thanks.” To take it one step further, it’s hard to even have the spirit or the energy to do something about it.
You all know better, though. If you fall down seven times, you have to stand up eight. Here are five things to do about your deferral when you’re ready to stand back up.
1. Understand that it happens to everybody.
Remember, this isn’t something you’re going through on your own. Even I got deferred from one of the colleges I applied to! It may feel like you’re alone on this one simply because it’s not as talked about amongst your peers. But think about it, are your peers going to talk about the colleges they were accepted to or the ones they got deferred from? With that said, consider being the person to open up a dialogue about the matter between yourself and your peers. I’ve found that talking about things with others always makes all parties involved feel better about whatever is being discussed.
2. Play the waiting game.
Patience plays a huge role in the deferral process. I know it’s frustrating to do everything you’re supposed to do in a timely manner and submit a college application early only to wait for regular-decision season to come along, but who knows? You may be pleasantly surprised and find that the wait was worth it.
3. Give the college's admission office a ring.
Alright, so maybe some of us are a little less patient than the rest but that’s okay! If you’d like to take matters into your own hands, it’s never a bad thing to contact the college that deferred you and ask to speak to an admissions counselor. Not only could they answer any questions you may have concerning your deferral, but showing a consistent effort and interest in the college could do wonders for you. Like I said, you never know!
4. Re-examine your options.
Odds are this isn’t the only college you’ve applied to or are planning to apply to. So, recognize that just because you’ve gotten deferred from one college doesn't mean you won’t get deferred from any others. Take some time to look a little further into other colleges on your list. By doing this, you might realize there’s another college you have more of an interest in and that deferral won’t sting as much after a while.
5. Recognize that this is not a failure.
We’re all a little hard on ourselves at one point or another, but when there’s so much pressure to succeed and do well in that first semester of senior year, there’s more of an opportunity to be mean to ourselves. Even though it’s hard, recognize a deferral from a college does not mean you’re not good enough or that you’ve failed, it simply means “we just can’t take you right now, but hang in there.” I know it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, but you need to be proud of yourself for actually following through and applying to college in the first place. That is an accomplishment all in itself.
Take a second. Look at how far you’ve come. All of the sleepless nights, piles of homework and cups of coffee are all leading to one moment – graduation. Trust that in the end, you’ll be going to the college you’re supposed to be going to. And when you get there, that one deferral won’t mean much of anything. Remember, fall down seven times, stand up eight.
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