What You Need to Know About Deferral/Rejection

By Daphne Chapline ’22

I knew I wanted to go to Pomona almost immediately after arriving on campus for my first visit. Something about it just felt right; all the students I talked to were so kind, helpful, and extremely willing to talk about their passions on and off campus. I was drawn to the idea of small class sizes and close professor relationships, the collaborative student environment, and, of course the always-sunny-always-75-degree weather.

Cuddling Petey
Cuddling Petey

Needless to say, when senior year and consequently college application season rolled around, I had no reservations about applying early decision to Pomona. One December night, while at dinner with friends, I got a notification about a new update on my application portal. When I opened it and read, “the Committee has decided to defer a final decision on your candidacy until March…” I was completely devastated. I excused myself as early as I could from the restaurant, drove home and immediately crashed onto my bed where I cried for the next hour or two. My parents couldn’t get me out of my bed for the whole night and for a good part of the next day. I had to be coaxed out by the promise of ice cream and cuddles from our (then foster) dog Petey.

First visit to Pomona
First visit to Pomona, summer ’15

It might seem silly to cry over a deferral, but I thought for sure that I would never make it in the Regular Decision pool if I didn’t make it in the Early Decision pool (usually considered less competitive at most schools). Plus, I wasn’t nearly as excited about any other school as I was about Pomona. However, I took great comfort in the ever-wise words of my father, who told me, “You are on a journey to be your best self. The journey may or may not continue at Pomona. But you will be a success wherever you go. I know this because I know you.” So to all of you who are in the position I was in around this time last year: Take heart—wherever you end up, you will be able thrive. And just because you are deferred or rejected doesn’t mean you aren’t worth it; how can someone possibly know how deserving you are through a transcript and a few essays? A rejection does not define you or your own personal success. The fact of the matter is that sometimes there literally just is not enough room for all the qualified candidates.

Daphne's sponsor group
My sponsor group fam at Coop Fountain

Being rejected might even open your eyes to a school that is a better fit, ones that were overlooked in all the excitement. Of course, I am very glad now that I ended up being accepted at Pomona, because it turned out to be such a great environment for me. I still love the small classes, relationships with my professors, the passion of the students here, the warm and sunny weather, and the good vibes I felt during my first campus visit. However, I also know that there are many great schools out there where I would also be very happy! Basically, what I want to say is that there is so much potential for happiness in the world. Do not let one school define yours.