a year ago
Admissions Advice

Hard Targets = Deferrals?

Hi! I just had a question about deferrals and how they show up on CollegeVine.

I got deferred from two very selective schools (<10% acceptance rate to be specific), including one I was sure I'd be rejected from, and CollegeVine had classified those two schools as "Hard Targets." Does this mean that, most likely, that they just want more up-to-date information about me until the spring, and that I might have a chance at a regular decision acceptance?

If so, besides updating them about accomplishments and etc., what should I do to make acceptance more likely?


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2 answers

a year ago

To make your acceptance more likely, keep up your grades and make sure your mid-year transcript looks equally impressive or better than your last one, keep up your ECs and have something new to report, if you have a new ACT/SAT test score, you can update that as well and lastly try to figure out objectively whether or not you are truly a good fit for the college you applied to. The school might have been a great fit for you but there are many factors that colleges consider in their college application decision and if there was any doubt that you were not a good fit for them or weren't clear about how you add to their culture, goals, and aspirations as an institution of higher learning, now is the time to review your essays and application and see what didn't jive. What I find often in reading the "Why Us" essays is that applicants write too much about themselves, their needs, and how they would use the school to benefit them. But the school wants to really know how you are going to make them look better. Once you figure out what the possible weak link is, work on that and then pick a good recommender to advocate for you in a personalized letter.

I don't' agree with the previous responder about MIT. MIT in typical years is indifferent to who applies early or not because they do not care about legacy, recruited athletes, development candidates, children of employees, or deans' list favors. That is why if you look at the history of admit rates between REA and RD they are basically the same 7-8%. For them, it's a meritocracy.

This year is different because of 1.) COVID-19 and no test scores and 2.) 8% of Class of 2024 deferred. What this means is that tons of kids who never thought they would get into MIT applied under the auspices of not needing a test score so the applicant pool jumped 62%. Secondly, since there are 100+ fewer spots this year, they could not accept the same amount of students in either REA or RD. This is fully evidenced by Harvard's low REA rate of 7.4% versus 13.9% last year and Columbia's less than 10% ED rate vs 15% last year. They got 57% and 49% more Early applicants. Harvard has like 20%+ 349/1650 deferrals last year. Columbia not quite so much.

Good luck with your college admissions process.

a year ago

In the case of deferrals, you would still have a chance of acceptance. For this, you should submit any up-to-date information, such as grades, new test scores and achievements that happened after you applied. You should also write a letter of continued interest to the schools. And if you haven't, have an interview with an admissions counsellor.

Note: don't send any updates if the school says you must not. Otherwise, your chances of admissions will be extremely low.

For your letter of continued interest, you need to convince the school on why they should still accept. A deferral could mean that you were quite competitive, but some schools, like MIT, are very conservative with their early admissions and defer most of their EA applicants.

Concerning your grades, try to improve them and get to a high rank within your class (let's say top 5%).

Another tip: focus on your RD applications, so at least your options are wide open.

Hope this helps.


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