While I can’t exactly parlo Italiano and I’m not a Literature major, I’m a devoted Dante-phile at heart, and I think there’s a little bit of “Divine Comedy” in everything.
The college admissions process is the perfect example of my “Divine” theory. If you’re like the way I was in high school, you can find peace in only two kinds of admissions decisions (one obviously a little more desired): admit or deny. Deferral, in my mind, would’ve been like banishment to the terraces of Purgatory (and if you’re familiar with Purgatorio, it’s not exactly benign – think reaching for fruit that is forever out of reach, burning in a wall of fire, being forced to lie facedown and prostrate, unable to move for hundreds of years while you work off your earthly sins… at the very least, the Inferno is exciting and filled with interesting people).
For many of you, I may not be offering too much consolation when I say the following, but I know that deferral can be very disappointing, especially if you have already fallen in love with Yale and indicated in your application that it is your clear first choice. The wait until April to hear a final decision, and to even know whether or not you are into college, can seem like an eternity.
Here’s my advice to anyone feeling a little disheartened by a deferral: first of all, there are many successful and integral members of the Yale community (including current admissions staffers!) who were initially deferred or waitlisted. In addition, the chances of being admitted after a deferral are historically comparable (and sometimes higher) to the admissions rate of students who are first time applicants to Yale under the Regular Decision deadline. Finally, while it’s honestly hard to glean much satisfaction or even consolation from a letter of deferral, deferral does in fact indicate one’s competitiveness as an applicant to Yale regarding your academic, extracurricular, and personal achievements. Keep in mind that the college admissions process is a sometimes fickle and imperfect beast, and you should never internalize the behavior of any given admissions committee as a judgment on your accomplishments or character, or allow it to take away from your confidence as an individual.
It’s definitely important to reassess at this point, and make sure you are keeping all options open as you put together applications for other colleges and universities. If necessary, feel free to contact your regional admissions officer if you have the need to send an important update or additional information. Most importantly, if Yale is still your first choice, don’t give up! And remember, according to Dante, everyone in Purgatory eventually ends in Paradise, whether it’s in New Haven or elsewhere.