I Received a Deferred Decision—Now What?

Author: Bri Prusakowski


So, you applied Restrictive Early Action. That means you know before most of your friends where you're going to school next year.

Except...what if you don't? No worries. We've got you covered with this post all about what a deferred decision means.

Our office released Restrictive Early Action decision letters in December and, for most, this resulted in a definitive decision—admit or deny. For quite a few of these applicants, however, this meant receiving more ambiguous news: a deferred decision.

If you are in this deferred group, you may be wondering: what does this mean for your application going forward?

Quite simply, a deferred decision means that the admissions committee is not yet ready to make a final decision on a student’s application. Since we only receive just over a quarter of our total applications during the Restrictive Early Action cycle, our staff wants the chance to evaluate deferred students’ applications within the context of the larger Regular Decision pool.

While we know it likely is not the news you were hoping for, it's important to keep in mind that a deferral is not the end of the admissions process. Even though you applied for our November deadline, you are still on even footing with the students who chose to apply for Regular Decision. With a highly competitive applicant pool, we are very serious about which students we choose to defer, and we only do so if we feel that they will be competitive later in the process.

So, what now? What can you do to ensure that your application continues to look its strongest? 

Here are our top five tips for deferred applicants:

1. Keep us updated with any changes to your application. The most important part of this is sending us your first semester senior year grades. Many high school counselors will do this automatically, but if not, this should be a top priority for you. The admissions committee wants to see that students are maintaining a strong academic performance throughout their senior year, particularly if the applicant is taking high-level courses. Any changes in GPA or class rank can also be helpful in our evaluation process.

2. You should also update us on any significant extra-curricular accomplishments or awards that you have or will receive after our Restrictive Early Action process. The easiest way to do this is to upload additional materials via your applicant status portal or email your regional admissions counselor .

3. You do not need to submit any additional letters of recommendation. We generally do not encourage letters of recommendation beyond the required academic teacher letter and optional counselor letter, which you submitted with your original application. Of course, if we do receive any additional letters submitted on your behalf, we will add them to your file.

4. If Notre Dame is truly one of your first choice schools, you may also write a letter of desire explaining why you believe Notre Dame is the best school for you. You may send this letter directly to your regional admissions counselor and/or upload to your applicant status portal so we can be sure to add it to your admissions file. This letter of desire is a great opportunity to tell the admissions committee a little bit more about yourself and to explain why you would love to attend Notre Dame.

5. Finally, be patient. We know that the stress and anticipation of the college admissions process may be weighing on you right now, but the best advice we can give is to relax and let the process take its course.

As always, if you have any additional questions, you are welcome to reach out to your admissions counselor. We are happy to help!

Bri Prusakowski

Bri Prusakowski is the Notre Dame admissions counselor for the following areas: District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and transfer students. Learn more.