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How to Write a Successful Deferral Letter

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Every year, thousands of students are deferred from the early application pool to the regular decision pool. And every year, thousands of students are left thinking, “How can I improve my chances of getting accepted?”

Let us introduce to you… (drumroll, please)… The Deferral Letter!!

The deferral letter is similar in purpose to the waitlist letter. The only difference is the position you’re in, how much time you have to work with, and what other options are on the table for you.

First and Foremost:

If the school doesn’t explicitly ask you for a deferral letter or essay, head on over to their website or contact an admissions representative to make sure they don’t discourage or prohibit the submission of deferral letters. The last thing you want to do is demonstrate an inability to follow directions. 

Getting Started:

Once you’ve confirmed that the school in question will happily accept and review your deferral letter, it’s time to start writing. Your objective should be to reinforce your interest and make it clear that, should you be accepted, you would attend. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your continued interest in the school.

Be Succinct:

Deferral letters should be brief. If you took advantage of the opportunity to speak to admissions in your own voice during the application process, you will have already exhausted a lot of topics and ways to differentiate yourself from similarly qualified applicants anyhow—so this is just an opportunity to cement your interest.

Give Them an Update:

Ask yourself: What has happened since I last presented myself to admissions? Sometimes, you will have only submitted your application just six weeks prior, so the expectation isn’t that you have moved mountains between December and January, but even minor achievements are worth your consideration for inclusion.

Did you win any awards? Did you complete any fun or interesting projects related to your potential major? Did your fundraising campaign overperform? Did you read an awesome book that you can’t stop thinking about (by an alumni)? Start there.

Next, reaffirm your fit and interest. You don’t want to regurgitate your “Why do you want to go here?” essay, but you can reiterate some of the most important components of your candidacy. If the school didn’t ask you to pen a Why essay, on the other hand, this is your chance to demonstrate your familiarity with the school and its offerings.

In Closing:

As you sign off your letter, make sure to clearly state your intentions. Admissions should know how you plan to take advantage of your education if and when you arrive on campus. They should also feel confident that you’ll accept their offer of admission should they extend it.

When can you expect to hear back from your Regular Decision schools?
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