College Admissions Deferred vs. Waitlist

Being deferred from a college versus being put on a waitlist are two totally different college admissions responses. Let’s say you applied early action or early decision and you get a response that says you’ve been deferred. What does that mean? A deferral letter means that your application has been moved to that school’s regular decision pool for further consideration. The school is not declining or accepting you at this point in time; rather, they are deferring your application so that you are now going to be considered along with all of the regular decision applicants. Waitlisting happens towards the end of the admissions considerations when the regular decision pool responses have come out. Like a deferral, you have not yet been rejected or accepted. If you have been waitlisted by a college, you have been put on a list of people considered for admission after the school hears back from their accepted pool. If a school has “spots” left after they hear back from their regular admissions pool, they can go to the waitlist and accept more students.

Reasons for Deferral

There are many reasons why a college may defer a student. The admissions officers may want to see additional materials and grades to see how a student is doing their senior year. It could also be that the school had a large number of extremely qualified candidates and your application did not stand-out among them in this first round because of grades, test scores, activities, etc.

Hearing From a College After Being Deferred or Waitlisted

If you apply either early action (the non-binding early application) or early decision (the binding early application), you can receive a response from the college that will say you are deferred. This means that the admissions office is putting off making a final decision on your application for the time being. They place your application in the regular decision pool and consider it against all of the other regular decision applicants. Now, you wait again to find out if you were accepted, declined or waitlisted.

So, being deferred just means that the decision on your admission is going to be considered again along with the regular decision applications.

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