You thought you were ahead of the game. Finished your essays, completed your applications and submitted them by the November deadline. Time to relax and wait. Unfortunately the results you were anticipating in January weren't exactly what you had hoped. You've been deferred from that college that you so desperately want to attend. Now what?
Deferral is not denial. There are some things that you can do that might enhance your chances come Regular decision time.
1. Read your Deferral Letter carefully!
Does the school welcome any additional information and do they have a specific way they want that to be communicated to them. Always check the Admission section on a school's website and make sure you are following their directions. Some additional information that might be welcome:
-a new club or a new leadership position in an existing club or sports
-any new honors or achievements since you submitted your application
-any theatrical roles
-any publications of written work through local, regional, or national writings
-if you are a visual or performing arts student and you did not submit a portfolio with your original application, now is the time to do it!
-an updated resume
-if an additional letter of recommendation is allowed choose someone that might say something a little different than what your original recommendations said about you
-updated ACT,SAT or SAT Subject test scores
-if allowed, an additional essay on "Why (insert school name)" if it wasn't already required
2. Let the school know how much you want to attend
Contact your admission counselor in writing and let them know of your interest in the college. If it is definitely your number one choice and you would absolutely enroll if accepted, tell them that. If you are uncertain then do not make that statement. Be careful not to over contact or harass the admission counselor and try not to sound desperate. Balloons and gifts will not impress the admissions office.
3. Don't slack off
Just because you have submitted your college applications doesn't mean you can now sit back and coast. Finish up strong with your first semester of Senior year grades! The school will want to see how you are handling your senior year coursework. Be sure to ask your counselor to send any updated academic information to your schools. Remember, senior grades do matter. Even students who have been admitted can have their acceptances revoked if their grades aren't on par with those they submitted with their applications.
If you haven't already, and your family finances permit it, try to schedule a tour and get on campus. An admissions officer may find it hard to believe you are that interested in their college if you haven't even visited the campus. Try to plan these visits before mid-March, as most admissions re-evaluations will happen then. If possible, try and schedule an appointment with the admissions office specifically. Let them know how much you want to be there.
5. Don't lose hope
Try not to fall victim to putting all of your self-worth into whether you are accepted by a school. I know it is easier to say, I'm not the one who just applied. College admission decisions are not arbitrary and are made with intent and a great deal of thought. It is often hard to understand why colleges make the decisions that they do. College admissions is competitive, but there are a lot of really great colleges. Try to stay as positive as you can and know that you will find a college that meets your needs and can offer a great college experience.