Yes, There Is Life after Deferrals


Serenity Cray, Senior Editor

Now that it is May, the college decision process is winding down, but some students are still waiting to hear where they will spend the next four years of their lives. Tenafly High School is known for the competitive nature of its learning environment. In Tenafly, teachers start to mention the topic of college as early as middle school. Now that most students have heard back from their respective schools, this period of time is spent reflecting on the past and thinking about the future. The college process is an emotional rollercoaster and one of high school’s biggest mysteries. It seems simple: acceptance, deferral, or rejection. Rejection and acceptance are on two opposite ends of the college spectrum, but then, there is a gray area. That gray area is something known as deferment.

Out of the 11 schools I applied to, I was deferred from three of them. After applying Early Action to each school, I received my first decisions in January. Three deferrals do not sound as bad compared to the other responses I received, but being deferred made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I questioned everything about the last three years of my high school career. Why didn’t I work harder? Was my essay not as good as I thought? Should I have taken more honors classes? All my friends were glowing in the happiness of acceptance while I felt pinned down by my deferrals.

Sometimes, being deferred can feel worse than a rejection letter, because you have to play the hardest game of all: the waiting game. Day after day, I would vigorously check my email and various portals. But the truth of it is, I should have used that waiting period to enjoy my senior year instead of stressing about my impending decisions. As soon as you push that submit button on Common App, the rest is up to the universe. Though waiting can be frustrating and emotionally draining, it is best to use that time to take in all the amazing memories around you. You are only a senior in high school once, so enjoy spending time with your friends, having double off, or taking frequent bathroom breaks during class. A college decision will never change all the great times you will have during your senior year.

Contrary to popular belief, being deferred can actually be a good thing. “A deferral is almost better, because you are entered into a much larger pool of applicants,” said Tenafly Guidance Counselor, William Cheval. “The regular decision pool is usually the largest for colleges, so one can build confidence knowing they are now in a much larger acceptance pool.” When told that same thing in January, I thought it was just something that people said to make me feel better about being deferred. Now in early April, that advice is true. I was accepted to two out of those three schools, and I even received a large scholarship from one of them. So, I am here today to instill hope in those who may be deferred to the regular decision pool. No, it does not mean you are not good enough. No, it does not mean that you should have taken more honors classes. It just means that the schools need more time and possibly want to see continued academic interest in your first semester grades.

Yes, being deferred sucks, but it allows you to exponentially grow within a matter of months. The most important thing to remember is there is life after being deferred. Work hard and enjoy a couple of months before making one of the biggest decisions of your life.