What should I be looking to do in the meantime to make my application more appealing while I've been deferred from my ED? Scholarships? Awards? Additional recs?
Neither a scholarship, award or an add'l recommendation is going to get your deferred application admitted. You were deferred for 2 simple reasons, your ED college felt that you couldn't compete with the admitted students so they moved you to a less competitive RD pool. And the 2nd reason was that you are not an competitive ALDC applicant nor someone who has a compelling hook that they are looking for (Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, Non-CIS, Low Income).
Now there are perhaps 5 or 10 times as many applicants in the RD pool, you will have your file re-read and may the committee will see something special in your narrative. But keep in mind, that admit rates are lower in the RD pool even though there are more applicants.
Right now you just have to wait it out. If you get straight As during your Fall or Winter semester, that will look good when your HS counselor sends in your mid-year report.
Hopefully, you have hedged your bets and applied to plenty of RD schools where you will be happy and have a good chance of getting into.
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