December 24, 2018
Read Time: 6 minutes
Decision season is upon us! Just over a week ago, Harvard released its decisions for what was likely the most competitive early admissions cycle in Harvard history (according to the Harvard Crimson). You may have received an email that starts like this:
13.4% were admitted out of a whopping 6,958 early applicants – that means plenty of people were deferred too. To put this in basic numbers, in 2017 2.43% of regular Harvard College applicants were accepted (compared to 14.5% in early admissions), with a total percentage of acceptance at 4.59% for the class of 2022.
Even if you did not apply to Harvard, you may be one of the many applicants who applied for early decision at a college in the U.S. As decisions are being released from your top choice colleges, you need to be prepared for the possibility of a deferral. Deferral means a college will consider you for their regular admissions cycle, against a much larger set of applicants, and decide on your application in the springtime.
While the percentages indicate an uphill battle, it’s nevertheless a battle that will require preparation and proactive action! So definitely do NOT just wait around for college to get back to you! After all, certain colleges are asking you to be proactive. In fact, Harvard states “You are welcome to submit significant new information for consideration during the Regular Decision process.” That means you have TWO bites of the proverbial apple!
So now you may be asking yourself, what do I do next? Well there are a number of things you can do to better your chances of admission, and Write Track Admissions has collected them here to give you a leg up above your competition! Here’s the TOP FOUR Tips for handling a deferral.
1) Write a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI)
The crux of responding to any deferral is in writing a bulletproof letter of continued interest! The letter is most important in convincing the college that you deserve admission, and it’s also the most overlooked. Most applicants who are deferred do not take the trouble of writing a LOCI, so you automatically increase your chances of admission by taking the initiative to write such a letter.
A letter should be short, sweet, and effective by covering a few basic points:
(a) Why the college you’ve applied to is your top choice
(b) What you’ve done/accomplished since submitting your application
(c) How you’ve taken extra initiatives to further your interest in the college (i.e., visiting the campus, talking to current students/ professors/ alumni (see below))
Moreover, if you’ve been admitted to other colleges in the meantime, write about that in your letter as well! You can pressure the college who deferred you to reconsider your application by proving that other top colleges have seen your potential. Remember: top colleges need impressive applicants that will go on to do great things and improve the reputation of the college; you can make them fight over you!
Finally, be sure to submit your letter at least a month before regular admissions decisions are expected to release. In order to write the best LOCI, keep reading the tips below for inspiration!
2) Take Action!
If you’ve been talking about an incredible idea or project for the past few months, but haven’t gotten it off the ground for any reason, NOW is the time! Get started on an extracurricular or volunteer project that demonstrates your leadership and creativity. By doing so, you can build experiences to write about in your letter of continued interest. Even if you can only write about getting your project started, that’s still impressive! At a time when most high school seniors are getting complacent, you can prove to colleges that you’re continuing to work hard towards your goals.
Seniors being lazy
3) Visit the Campus and Meet Students/Alumni/Faculty
You’re already showing initiative and interest in your college by writing a letter of intent and getting started on a new project, but you can go even further. Plan a visit to the college you’re interested in by calling their admissions and visitors office. Try to set up tours that let you audit a class or have other tangible experiences that you can write about in the letter of continued interest to show your passion and commitment to the college. But most importantly, be sure to interact as much as possible with current students, faculty, or alumni, and make a note of that in your letter (see point 1 above).
4) Ask for a Letter of Recommendation from Students/Alumni/Faculty
If you interact with students on your college visit, or if you already know others who are affiliated with your top choice college, ask them for a letter of recommendation! You’ve already given the college letters of recommendation in your application, but submitting another letter along with your own LOCI will give the college yet another reason to accept you. By pinpointing someone who is affiliated with the college, you’re also guaranteeing the college takes notice of your application!
Be sure to reference your letter of recommendation within your LOCI, and mention that you know people who are affiliated with your top choice college. As they say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
Now that you have all the necessary tips/components of your letter of continued interest, be sure to write the best one possible! Write Track Admissions has experts to guide you in the LOCI process, letters of recommendation, advice on maximizing the deferment period and other application questions. After all, you NEVER want to say years later, “ah what if I had just tried to show the college that I really cared about attending”. Go the distance and do everything you can to be in that percentile admitted!
Contact us today to receive the advice you need for the most important decisions of your academic career! It’s time to Get Noticed and Get In!
~ Abhijith Ravinutala
Write Track Director of Professional Services & Admissions Expert