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Early Decision Decisions & The Dos and Donts of Deferral

By Beth Anne Spacht

December 12, 2013

ATTENTION all Early Decision applicants.  It’s official.  ED I decisions have left the building!  

Keep an eye on your mailboxes; we don’t notify online or via e-mail (except for students living outside the United States).  This means, for most of you, that some good, old-fashioned mailbox stalking may be in order. Letters were sent Tuesday afternoon via the U.S. Postal Service and will most likely arrive later this week, depending on your distance from Richmond.  We know you’re excited to hear back, but please don’t go postal on the postal service – especially so close to the holidays.

Each and every year, we breathe a deep sigh of excitement and anticipation right alongside our applicants when the first waves of decisions are released.  Honestly, it blows me away to witness just how much stronger and stronger our pool becomes, even as it grows in size.  In a way, it’s a double-edged sword.  We wish there was space for every talented applicant we see come our way.  Seriously – y’all are pretty amazing.  But, with only so many spots in our class, the decision-making process is often difficult.  Rest assured our decisions aren’t made lightly.  

To all admitted students: Congratulations on behalf of the admission committee and the University community! This year’s ED I pool was large and in charge, and decisions were extraordinarily difficult to make. You represent approximately one third of Richmond’s Class of 2018, the first big step in creating our next class.  You were selected carefully and individually for the myriad of accomplishments, talents, and experiences you’ll bring with you. You should be incredibly proud.

You’ll need to deposit by January 3 in order to secure your place in the class. The online deposit option is now available.  In the meantime, be sure to visit our admitted student page and join the Class of 2018 Facebook group. Once we start receiving deposits, markers will start appearing on the Class of 2018 Google Map, so keep an eye on that, too. And don’t forget to submit an information form to receive your class t-shirt!

To students who have been deferred into the Regular Decision pool: Take a deep breath and regroup. There are two main reasons that we defer applications to RD. In the majority of cases, the committee simply wants to see these applications in the context of the entire applicant pool, before we make a final decision. In some cases, however, there may be something specific the committee wants to see – for example, your full first semester grades, if your first quarter grades were of concern or if you had a significant dip in your junior year and the committee wants to see a full semester’s recovery. Deferred students should feel free to contact their regional counselor and ask if there’s anything more they can do to improve their application in Regular Decision; just keep in mind that nine times out of ten, the answer will be no, the committee just wants to review your application in light of the whole applicant pool. Every year there are deferred students who are admitted in Regular Decision (though you are no longer bound by the ED contract, in that event).  Here’s a cheat sheet to understand how the process works.

  • Do: Keep up the hard work to maintain a strong academic record in your senior year. Don’t be discouraged by a deferral; it’s not a negative comment on your abilities or potential.  Let this add fuel to the fire to motivate you to show the admission committee that you are capable of maintaining the strong record you have already set forth in your initial application.  We’d love to see all A’s and B’s in the senior year.
  • Don’t: Email your regional admission officer every day.  We welcome updates as you progress through your senior year.  We know you’re awesome students, but be intentional with what you send our way.  If you got an A on your calculus exam, great!  We’ll probably see that on your mid-year transcript (you are required to send this to us, anyway), so no need to pass that along.  If you do want to share major updates (awards, additional resumes, etc.), feel free to send them to application@richmond.edu.  This will put updates directly in your file for future review by the admission committee.
  • Do: Ask yourself if you are comfortable with your test scores.  Scores are certainly not the exclusive deciding factor in any application, but they can influence a decision. If you’re comfortable with your scores, awesome!  If not, perhaps consider a January test date. This may be a good opportunity to try your hand at the SAT versus the ACT, or vice versa.
  • Don’t: Become disheartened. We can’t stress this to our applicants enough; a deferral is typically a sign that you are doing something right.  If you want to apply ED II to another school or set your sights beyond Richmond, you may.  Although highly competitive, we do take deferred students in Regular Decision every year.  So if you heart is set on our school, take this as an opportunity to work towards making yourself as competitive as possible in the regular decision process.  

Students who were not admitted are students that the committee felt would simply not be competitive in Regular Decision. We’re grateful for your interest in Richmond, but admission is highly selective, and we can only accommodate a small portion of applicants. If your heart remains set on Richmond beyond this application cycle, we encourage you to consider applying as a transfer student after a successful year at another institution; feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this option or even about what sort of curriculum to pursue in order to make your transfer application more competitive.

Once again, congratulations to members of the Class of 2018!  Any other questions?  Ask away!

Tags: Application Process

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Associate Director of Admission 

A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom

Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Senior Assistant Director of Admission

Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.

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