In the college admission process March is a month of contrast. The majority of admission offices across the country are in their busy season finalizing admission decisions, constructing financial aid packages, and planning final visit days. But for those whose fates lie in the balance, there is very little that can be done. Most students have applied to the schools they are considering and March is a month of waiting. A recent USA Today article captured this dilemma, reporting on the number of deferments colleges have handed down this year. For students who have been deferred, the college search is more frustrating and in some cases much longer.
The deferment is a decision that has become more prevalent as the college application process has become more simplistic. An application used to mean that a student had real interest in a school, but as the Common Application has gained popularity students are applying to more and more institutions. In my experience as an admission counselor, I have met students who have applied to twenty schools or more. While it is an older article, many of the themes David Marcus raises in this New York Times blog piece are still true today.
Reputation is everything in the world of high education and many deans and vice presidents of enrollment feel huge amounts of pressure to lower acceptance rates and increase yield and an institution's use of deferment or waitlist decisions can greatly influcence this process. One of the most frustrating scenarios for a college admission office is to offer admission to a student only to learn that student is enrolling elsewhere. As Jeanne Holzmann, of Fordham University, says in the USA Today article, an essay from a deferred applicant on the reasons they want to attend a particular school can make all the difference.
Good luck to those still waiting on college decisions and remember, there are over 4,000 schools in this country; chances are you will fit well at more than one.
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