Well, it’s been a week since the UVA decisions were released and I know that there are lots of unhappy families in Northern Virginia as a result. I get it: it’s an amazing school at an amazing price. Who wouldn’t want their child to go to UVA? What’s not to love? I meet with families all the time that actually chose to live in Virginia because of UVA when their children were very young - or before they were born! After that kind of commitment, of course an unfavorable answer would feel crushing. How could it not?

University of Virginia Admissions

The good news, from my end, is that UVA decisions still remain relatively predictable. A student with very high test scores and very high grades that has chosen the most challenging curriculum at his high school should be admitted to UVA, as long as the essays, extracurricular involvement and recommendations are equally strong. Yes, even if he went to Langley. Or McLean. Or Madison. Or Oakton. There are no mysteries here. In my opinion, the devastating “how could this happen” stories that relate to UVA usually involve amazing, phenomenal kids who are missing the test scores, the grades, or the rigor. Unfortunately, this level of predictability is not the same at most other top schools, where rockstar valedictorians working to cure cancer can be rejected without a second thought and we are all just left to sit back and wonder why.

At this time of year, we receive a lot of phone calls from the aforementioned unhappy families who have heard the news that is sometimes even worse than a rejection: a deferral. At least a rejection has a sense of finality. Deferrals raise questions, anxieties, and all kinds of emotions, and it’s no wonder that families decide to bring in a professional to help navigate the situation.

Here’s my advice:

  1. Determine what the deferral actually means. At Georgetown, literally every single student is deferred. No one is denied! Obviously, you are not in any kind of select group. At Columbia, on the other hand, very few students are deferred. A deferral means that you really may have a chance. All deferrals are not alike.

  2. Ask your high school counselor for help. Beyond the information that is publicly available, such as the fact that Georgetown defers everyone, your counselor should be able to help you find out information specific to your unique situation. This takes place through what is known as a “counselor call.” Your counselor can set up a phone appointment with the admissions officer at the school from which you were deferred in order to hear insight on your decision. Independent counselors, by and large, cannot make these calls; however, I regularly work in tandem with school counselors to prepare them to make successful calls on my clients’ behalf. Teamwork!

  3. Write a letter of continued interest that shows your continued enthusiasm for the school, your willingness to enroll if admitted, and any updates that have occurred since the point at which you submitted your application.

Need help on your individualized deferral game plan? Fill out our intake form and we can help. Still up for the DIY approach? You’re in luck - come back next week to find a blog post devoted to formulating the most effective LOCI possible!