Deferral Letter


It’s college admissions purgatory: the dreaded Deferral Letter.  Much like a life-long bachelor, your target college isn’t quite ready to commit to you with an offer of admission, but he isn’t ready to fully let you go so you can end the relationship and seek a new one. What’s a lovelorn senior to do?

Well, it depends.  If you have received offers from other colleges that you are excited to attend, cut this one loose and start planning your future dorm décor in your new school colors. If this college remains a top choice college, it’s time to start developing your strategy to convert this suitor from confused to convinced. Your first step is to write a letter to reinstate your continued interest and  provide an update with new accolades and accomplishments that will strengthen your application and candidacy. Here’s a sample outline:


  • Introduce your name and high school
  • Indicate that you were disappointed by the decision to be waitlisted but understand, given the strength of the applicant pool
  • Restate interest in your dream school


  • Provide an update on your academics, extra-curricular activities and/or research
  • List any additional honors or awards you have earned since you submitted your application
  • Give an idea of what you are doing now or planning to do this summer

Why Dream U

  • State why you want to go to the school that has waitlisted you
  • What appeals to you about the school’s academics? What opportunities will you take advantage of?
  • How will you become engaged in the school’s community? What activities will you join and why?
  • What else appeals to you that is specific to that school? Location? Traditions?
  • If you are a legacy, be sure to state that
  • If you are comfortable making a commitment, you should indicate that, if offered a spot, you would accept it immediately and pay the deposit


  • Reiterate your dream of attending Dream U
  • Explain how you will contribute to the school’s community (what values or experiences will you bring with you)

Submit your letter and forget about it. Move on to explore the other great offers before you. Who knows? If you do get admitted, you might decide that the friends you have made and the opportunities that await you at other colleges are more appealing than what you thought “Dream U” had, after all.

Mauler Pattern Thin
Mauler Pattern Thin