Why all the deferrals?

My colleagues and I are stymied by the number of EA deferrals so far this year, especially for students who would ordinarily be relatively easy admits, especially at Tulane, UVM, and several other popular schools. While we are "prepared to go with the unpredictable" as much as possible this year, here are some probable reasons. Of course, money and politics factor into the equation:


  • Increased awareness of colleges because of virtual tours led to increased applications. Many students applied to colleges that were ordinarily way beyond their reach.

  • Test optional policies lowered the barrier. The percentage of students who submitted test scores this year through ED ranged from a low of 27% at Cornell to 68% at Penn. Colleges had no choice but to rely on other factors to make their decisions.

  • Happy surprises for some. Some students are admitted to schools that were big reaches.

  • Yield protection. This is more and more the trend as colleges do not want to admit students they know will unlikely attend. EA applicants who do not seek need based aid and have high profiles are less likely to enroll than some others in that pool, even if they were able to fly to NOLA to "demonstrate interest."

  • Biden’s election. With a new impending president, international applications rose at many institutions. Tufts reported that their international applications rose 30% and most were submitted after the election.

  • Uncertainty goes both ways. Since students are living in uncertain times, many figured, why not apply to more schools to increase our chances. And why not reach high because “you never know!”

As always, ED applicants have the greatest edge. And speaking of that, Villanova's admissions page announced that EA decisions will be out on January 29. Deferred students can switch to EDII by 2/7.

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