Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

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Friday, January 29, 2016

What To Do When You're Deferred for #UVA20

Being deferred is tough. I still remember the feeling of limbo that I got when I was deferred in high school. There are different reasons for deferring a student out there, but there are two that come up a lot in our discussions.

1. The Big Senior Program

Many schools allow students to have more control over course selection as they advance. Senior year is often the year with the most freedom and many students go for the big finale. This is awesome! Senior year should be the finale to your high school career. Your transition to college is going to be smoother when the leap to college-level work isn't a huge one, so a strong senior program is smart.

Seeing mid-year grades from these top courses can help us make a final decision on the file.

2. The Upward Trend

We try to counsel students about waiting for Regular Decision if they are rebounding from some shaky grades earlier in the high school career. We know that there are lots of other voices pushing students to submit applications early because there is a belief that early rounds are easier. That might be the case at some schools, but not at UVA.

When we see someone who is rebounding, we often feel it's best to get one more semester of work in the file. If you are rebounding, know that we are rooting for you!

How Do I Respond?

There's a link in the decision letter you received that goes to a Defer FAQs page that covers what you are supposed to do next.

We get plenty of emails/comments that start with an acknowledgement of those FAQs, but then a question about sending the things we tell students not to send. You do not need to start a defer campaign. I think there are people out there who insist that you must do this and that might influence the process at other schools. If you look back at the two scenarios I cited above, the issue isn't with supplements or recommendations (remember, we turned off the non-academic recommendation function in Common App). An academic update about how the first semester went will be most helpful.

If you are a senior, you have a lot on your plate. I can't tell you how many essays I've read about sleep deprivation and time management in the last few weeks. You are all obviously busy and you have to be smart about how you spend your limited time. If a college tells you not to worry about doing something, don't do it. Use your energy elsewhere!

A Word About Statistics

People inevitably ask me for stats about the defer pool. I haven't been able to run reports off multiple years, so it wouldn't be appropriate to cite a trend. Suffice it to say that residency is still a factor, with more deferred students from Virginia getting offers. School choice and the size of the pool are also factors.

Waiting is so hard.