It’s February! With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air and students are studying for exams. With Valentine’s Day come love letters (or love emails), but for our applicants applying to colleges abroad, we want to cover a different kind of letter, the Deferral Update Letter.

For Early applicants (Early Action or Early Decision) the deferral can fell heartbreaking. For a lot of high-performing applicants it’s the first time they’ve felt a form of rejection and the instinct is to react, as “whyyyyyy” rather like the love-struck, heartbroken lead of a romantic comedy but, resist the urge.

First of all, a Deferral is NOT a Rejection. There are steps you can take to make your profile stronger and convert the deferral into an acceptance. We will continue with the Love Letter analogy we started with as we examine what to do, and what not to do. And so, treat the letter like a Love Letter, written carefully, with passion, showing your best self to win over the college.

Do Be Yourself: You don’t want the college to fall in love with some phantom version of you. Be the excited, incredible person who applied during the early round. Thank them for the opportunity to still be evaluated. Tell them that you’re excited about the college and if possible, tell them why – “My conversation with Maya, Class of 2021, over the holidays gave me the same sense of excitement about University College as the school website. She showed me pictures of the quad covered in twinkling lights and I could imagine myself there, walking back from Art History class or to the Model UN meeting. Living up to the motto of Veritas by looking for my own truths that motivate me.” That is what moves the admissions team to accept you.

Give Them NEW Reasons to Love You: Early deadline is a ways away and in those few months since they received your application you may have more news for them. There may be a new achievement or recognition – the book you were working on getting published made it to print, you won the championship game and won the MVP award, you have better grades to show them – tell them about it. Remember though, we specified NEW. Don’t repeat what you already told them. They read that already and it wasn’t enough at this stage.

Write a Letter, not a Novel: We said this when it came to the application, the admissions committee has a motto “the thicker the file, the quicker it sinks.” Don’t overdo the letter by sending too many things. Don’t send them a new essay unless they ask you. Don’t attach a massive project, they won’t read it. Honestly, put yourself in their shoes. Would you rather read a short, 1-2 page document or a novel once you’ve spend all day working? Likely the concise document!

Don’t Be a Stalker: Don’t send multiple letters, or god help you, a letter every week. In real life, stalker-ish behavior like sending unwanted letters, calling all the time, showing up when they told you not to, would get you a restraining order. Same rule applies here. Moreover, don’t beg in your letter. You don’t love someone who begs. You may pity them. But colleges don’t give out pity acceptances.

Do Remember There Are other Fish in the Sea: College may not seem like a fish, but the analogy applies. There is more to life than just one college. You (hopefully) sent in more than just a single application. Remember to evaluate all the colleges fairly and don’t just get hung up on one college. It may not seem like it now, but people attend other colleges, sometimes those colleges weren’t their first choice, yet they all graduate as successful people who have let go and moved on.

Deferrals and waitlists are difficult and we all know that. Reach out to us at CollegeCore if you have questions on how to convert the College or University’s maybe into a yes.