Enrollment Management series
Before we get started on the subject of deferrals, here is a quick carryover thought from my recent article.
The college's strategy to lower "acceptance rates" to enhance the sense of "selectivity" directly results in higher tuition rates and lower scholarship offers.
BOOM, the big business of college is hard at work!
Part 2- The Surge in Deferrals
"Deferral" is suddenly the hot word in today's world of college admissions. It's also a new word to describe the college’s sales and marketing intention.
Definition: "Deferral" - to put off, postpone, or delay.
If you put yourself in the seat of a college admission counselor, you'll see why colleges sent out tens of thousands of deferrals during this application cycle.
It began a few years ago with colleges’ increased use of The Common App. Now over 1000 colleges accept the Common App, including State Universities like Texas, Maryland, and Penn State, which each began using the Common App this year.
Along with the rise in the use of the Common App came a false notion that students can increase their odds of acceptance by merely pressing a button.
Now, with nearly two million additional applications in the queues of admission counselors, for each application, there are four options-
If you can decide within a minute, you can get through your applications in half a day. That's arduous work. So, what's your approach?
Hitting the Accept button takes the most time, requiring up to ten factors to consider. All decision factors support the college business model, not the expectations of students or parents.
Hitting the Deny button takes the least time, often in under ten seconds. But it ends the process and doesn’t serve the interests of colleges well.
In football terms, going for it on 4th down and missing ends the drive putting the team in a weakened position. Therefore, most football coaches opt to punt. It defers the next offensive play until later.
This play is what counselors call on when they decide to hit the Defer button.
Deferral puts the applicant back into the Regular Decision pool, yielding far lower acceptance rates. It defers the final decision until later, giving colleges time to scheme their next offensive play.
It's an admission option that also can be chosen in a few seconds. It's a way of protecting the interests of colleges, not applicants.
Consider the airline business having a finite number of seats on each flight. Their strategy is to maximize the number of passengers paying the highest price.
Deferral is the money button of colleges. It works to maximize the number of students paying the highest price.
As they gain in popularity, Early Action applications will increase again in the next admission cycle yielding a higher number of "Deferrals" and causing extreme disappointment among thousands of student-families.