Deferred Admission Decision

A Sample Letter for Getting Accepted the Second Time Around

University of Georgia Consumer Sciences Building
University of Georgia Consumer Sciences Building. David Torcivia / Flickr

Many applicants despair when their application for early admission is deferred. The frustrating limbo of being deferred feels very much like a rejection. Be careful not to fall into this mindset. If the college did not think you had the qualifications to be admitted, you would have been rejected, not deferred. Essentially, the school is telling you that you have what it takes to get in, but they want to compare you to the full applicant pool.

You simply didn't stand out quite enough to be admitted with the early applicant pool. By writing to a college after being deferred, you have the opportunity to both reaffirm your interest in the school and present any new information that might strengthen your application.

So, don't panic if you received a letter of deferral after applying to college through early decision or early action. You're still in the game. First, read through these 7 tips on what to do if deferred. Then, if you think you have meaningful new information to share with the college that has deferred your admission, write them a letter. Sometimes you can write a simple letter of continued interest even if you don't have new information to share, although some schools explicitly state that such letters are not necessary, and in some cases, not welcome (admissions offices are extremely busy in the winter).

Sample Letter from a Deferred Student

Below is a sample letter that would be appropriate if deferred.

Caitlin has a significant new honor to report to her first choice college, so she certainly should make the school aware of the update to her application. Note that her letter is polite and concise. She doesn't express her frustration or anger; she doesn't try to convince the school that they've made a mistake; instead, she reaffirms her interest in the school, presents the new information, and thanks the admissions officer.

Dear Mr. Carlos,

I am writing to inform you of an addition to my University of Georgia application. Although my admission for Early Action has been deferred, I am still very interested in UGA and would very much like to be admitted, and therefore I wish to keep you up to date on my activities and achievements.

Earlier this month I participated in the 2009 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology in New York City. My high school team was awarded a $10,000 scholarship for our research on graph theory. The judges consisted of a panel of scientists and mathematicians led by former astronaut Dr. Thomas Jones; the awards were presented at a ceremony on Dec. 7. Over two thousand students entered this competition, and I was extremely honored to be recognized alongside the other winners. More information on this competition can be found through the Siemens Foundation web site:

Thank you for your continued consideration of my application.


Caitlin Anystudent

Discussion of Caitlin's Letter:

Caitlin's letter is simple and to the point. Given how busy the admissions office will be between December and March, short is important. It would reflect poor judgment if she were to write a lengthy letter to present a single piece of information.

That said, Caitlin could strengthen her letter slightly with a few tweaks to her opening paragraph. Currently she states that she is "still very interested in UGA and would very much like to be admitted." Since she applied Early Action, we can assume that UGA was Caitlin's top choice university. If so, she should state this. Also, it doesn't hurt to briefly state why UGA is her top choice school. As an example, her opening paragraph could state something like this: "Although my admission for Early Action has been deferred, UGA remains my top-choice university. I love the energy and spirit of the campus, and I was truly impressed by my visit to a sociology class last spring. I am writing to keep you up to date on my activities and achievements."

More on Letters of Continued Interest

Again, keep in mind that writing a letter when deferred is optional, and at many schools it won't improve your chances of being admitted.

You should definitely write if you have compelling new information to present (don't write if your SAT score went up just 10 points—you don't want to look like you're grasping). And if the college doesn't say not to write a letter of continued interest, it can be worthwhile to do so. You can check out these sample good letters of continued interest, and work to avoid some of the mistakes in these weak letters.