College Admissions Advice: What to do if Deferred or Denied

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Author: Dale Price, MBA

Founder, Access College America

Right now, the anticipation has set in for high school seniors all over the country. Students are diligently checking their emails with high hopes for a college acceptance letter, it will be their golden ticket. Everything is done, applications have been submitted and now we all must wait. As the results trickle in, millions and millions of seniors will celebrate with an email that starts out with, “Congratulations! You have been accepted!”. Unfortunately, not everyone will be updating their Facebook status with this exciting news though. Some students will be deferred (waitlisted), others will be denied all together. What happens now? The road to college is full of twists and turns, surprises will rise along the way. Access College America can help. Here are our two tips for students deferred and two tips for those denied:

Deferment, The Waiting Game

Follow all directions. Chin up! The college admission’s committee was impressed enough with your application that they want to give you a second look and compare you with the full application pool. You may be asked to submit mid-year grades, test scores or incomplete information. Be concise, thorough with any additional information and submit all documents early. Another suggestion is to visit the admission’s website and review their guidelines for communication. Do not harass the admission’s officer by calling everyday to express worry or request a decision. We also recommend having a guidance counselor call on the student’s behalf, the counselor can get a better understanding of application pool and how the applicant did compared to other students at the same high school. It should also be made clear that if an acceptance letter is granted, the student plans to attend. Giving the college confidence that their offer will not be rejected is an expression of enthusiasm and the type of commitment they are seeking.  

Review your college list. Seniors should apply to between six and eight colleges with a range of selectivity, consider classifying colleges into an easy, safe and reach category. Students deferred should consider this a ‘wake-up’ call; therefore, confirm all other applications have been fully submitted. If a student has only applied to one college, and they have been deferred, do not wait for a response to create a second option, do it now. Plus, receiving multiple acceptance letters is a wonderful problem to have.

Denied, The Wrong College Fit

Disney says it perfectly, “Let It Go”. You will be ok. Allow yourself a moment to be disappointed then pick yourself back up and move forward much stronger than ever before. Never allow a temporary setback to become a permanent problem. Understand the decision is in no way a reflection of who you are as a person. Do not call the admission’s office or submit a letter pleading for a second look. Focus all your efforts on the road ahead. Move onto the second choice, which may be the right college fit after-all. Applying to several colleges is key in cases like these.  

Do your best. The college that accepts you will provide a platform for you to prove yourself and eventually there may be an opportunity to transfer into your first choice school. Poor performance should never be an option. Also, freshman year in college creates a foundation for the future, so take the first year seriously no matter what college accepts you. A second chance may come later. Which is why we say for now, “let it go”.

Access College America is coming to Mint Hill: All parents with high school students are invited to a free college planning workshop at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library of Mint Hill (6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd, Mint Hill, NC 28227) on Monday, March 26th from 6:00pm-to-7:00pm. Call 980-474-1281 to RSVP.

Dale Price, MBA is a college admissions expert and the founder of Access College America LLC, a nationally recognized college consulting practice. Dale assists families as they navigate through the college planning process during high school with everything from academic planning, financial aid advice, essay preparation to college transitioning. Learn more about Access College America, visit Search @AccessCollegeAmerica on Facebook.

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