Jul 31, 2017 at 08:17

With the deadlines just around the corner, our expert Urvashi Malik helps you with the application strategies.

DEADLINES: UK Applications Countdown is here (January 15th everyone!) and the last of the Canada and US applications are going in by the middle of the month.

With all this in mind, I think it’s the perfect time to take a step back and look at our application strategy. At this stage more so than ever we have students wanting to sneak in another application to a dream school (“ma’am he applied to Harvard and he only got 70% in school!”) but this is the stage when we recommend adding that safety school to your list.

Life is unpredictable at best, let’s start 2017 on a strong note!


DEFERRALS: For our US applicants, when applying to colleges in the early round – Early Decision or Early Action, there are three possible outcomes:

– Accepted – Yay!

– Rejected – ?

– Deferred – ?

I think a deferral notification can feel mildly traumatic – “This must mean I won’t get accepted anywhere!” 

So let’s explain what is going on.


Deferral means that you are neither in nor out, but the university will review your application along with the pool of regular applicants. So don’t lose hope just as yet, this is not a rejection! However, it is important to take some constructive action to tilt the balance in your favor the next time around your application file is reviewed.

Even though the university does not consider you their top choice they are reasonably impressed with your applicant credentials to review your application with the larger pool of applicants in the regular round. If they were certain of not admitting you, they would have denied you outright!

What are my chances in Regular Decision? 

Once you are deferred you are automatically reconsidered in the next round. There is NO ADVANTAGE or DISADVANTAGE for being deferred. And so, believe it when I say that a deferral isn’t just a “polite rejection.” Being deferred means you’re going to get another fair shot. It’s not a denial. I promise.


Should I ask them what went wrong?

No. Decisions are made as a collective process in a group where students are compared to each other and discussed by a number of people. No one person can give you an answer, in fact, legally, they probably can’t.


What should I do?

– Read the deferral letter carefully, please send any additional material requested like the Mid-Year Grades, additional standardized test scores, anything else.

– Please ensure your Mid-Year grades show an upward trend over the last scores reported on your High School Transcript. Colleges do value better academic grades the most!

– Send an update to the University of any achievements, academic or extracurricular since the submission of your early application. E.g. an Excellence Award received on Founder’s Day, House Colors, a research paper published etc. This information can be sent in one well drafted letter rather than as weekly updates!

– Reach out to your interviewer to inform them of your deferral and seek their advice.

– Perhaps, an additional recommendation from someone like your Debate Coach, your Tutor in school, a research mentor can be sent only if the college is receptive of receiving additional material. You should check with the college before sending additional recommendations.


 What should I NOT do?

 …cry hysterically. The world has not come to an end.

…pester your parents to plan a visit to the college to show your interest.

…inundate the admissions office with multiple emails just to show you are interested. It is good to establish contact with your admissions officer but not at the cost of being labeled a stalker!

…lose hope. But do re-look at your university list. Ensure you have some Safeties on your list, otherwise add some NOW!!

DREADED BOARDS: I know I might sound like your parents but it’s now time to put aside those applications and focus on your boards. Pre-Boards Round 2 might be here for a few of you, Round 1 for others, but the fact remains, the boards are here and it’s important to shift focus. Whether its offers from the UK that are conditional on your success in the exams or the US that still needs you to perform and perform well, these exams are crucial and not just because mom and dad want bragging rights (“My daughter did better than Sharma Ji’s son!”) so double down and hit the books. End the year well!

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In Defence of Mediocrity
Somebody has to start speaking up for us, and rather urgently at that!

Mansi Tikko