LovesLabor

A,B,C Plans or Eggs in One Basket, Deferring College

21 posts in this topic

First of all, apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere (I did search the term 'defer' but didn't quite find what I was looking for), or if this doesn't quite belong in the career forum.

 

Like many before her, DD is considering whether to defer college in order for dd to try out for a second company during the summer. Her early acceptance college will allow her to request deferral by May. However, as far as I understand, there is an expectation that she have a fairly solid reason/plan for the deferral request. My question is, what happens if the original reason for the request fizzles out mid-summer? What options have others pursued who have found themselves in that situation? I imagine it is hard to find alternate training grounds for a last minute gap year late in the summer. Have students and parents lined up plan Cs for that year - volunteering, time overseas, local jobs before making the request?

 

The college DD has been accepted to does not accept transfers. So to the best of my understanding, it is not an option for her to get a head start on college courses elsewhere, and nor does the college offer its own online/distance learning classes. Of course, there's nothing stopping her from reading books and studying by herself, I suppose. However, I think she has to be careful about losing her freshman status.

 

No doubt we could probably scrape together something for her to do that year, but I just wonder how that would be viewed by the college itself - and it is sort of an awkward conversation to have with them - oh she might be pursuing dance next year, there again, she might find herself making it up as the year goes along, and we'll let you know.

 

Have others who have gone before us approached colleges and said, this is our hope for this year, but if that doesn't work this is hope number 2?

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LovesLabor, I was told not to mention deferral when speaking to any colleges, but to choose a school that that accepted daughter, pay the deposit (which you will lose if your daughter defers - there's nothing you can do about that) , fill out paperwork and do everything as if she were planning on attending that school, all the while seeking dance employment. Make sure you know the college's deferral policy in advance. In my daughter's case, and in those of many other dancers I've known, that date comes in mid-August, just a couple weeks before school begins.

 

My daughter accepted at a college, we paid the deposit, and then we mentioned that she might be deferring if she got a dance job. They were perfectly fine and actually very, very nice about this, saying it was common. They told her to fill out all paperwork, including general roommate preferences, just as I detailed above. She deferred two weeks before the school began. The school was very gracious. They wished her much luck in her career. They even said they hoped it was successful and that they would be happy to have her attend in a year, if that's what she chose.

 

Schools are very accustomed to students deferring and they even like it. They prefer a year older, more mature student. Meanwhile, they use the student's academic information in their statistics of the caliber of students they accepted that year.

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I would go through the entire college enrollment phase, which for us included enrollment acceptance, a small deposit, attending scholarship interviews, paying a housing deposit since housing was limited/known to fill up and follow everything as if we were attending the school of choice. Then as offers came in dancewise, and a decision to defer was made, then and only then did we discuss this with the university. We did this with two universities simply because DD was teetering on attending a college where she could continue to dance and one where she would not dance at all. The differences in what they were willing to defer was pretty significant. One was willing to defer all scholarships for one calendar year, but that if she used the 2nd year's deferral she would be put in the top group but not guaranteed anything after that. The other said she would start from scratch on everything as if it were her first enrollment with the exception of the acceptance.

 

In other words, plan to split your dozen eggs into two baskets for a while still.

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This comes as a surprise - my assumption was that all college deferrals for anything less than family emergencies happened sometime in spring? It also makes me nervous. If a college has a posted deferral policy and timeline, and DD basically ignores it, and just hopes they'll respect her request when it is more convenient for her, won't they simply withdraw the entire offer? Any one experienced this?

 

This is kind of a (non-dance focused) dream college for her, and I'm not sure she wants to do anything to jeopardize it unless it is patently obvious to her that a ballet career is definitely within her reach. So far, she has received definite strong interest, but the program in question hasn't even seen her in person. I understand why they would want to see her for the summer. And even if she were to receive an offer in July, there's still a long journey ahead of her to see if this is a match on all sides.

 

In terms of the college, there are no scholarships involved - just a very, very generous financial aid package - about the best one we have encountered. They actively encourage their freshman to take a structured bridge year organized by the college themselves, so they do understand the benefits. I just would feel very uncomfortable on dd's behalf in her taking such a big risk by not being upfront with them. I want to support her ballet dream, but not at all costs, I suppose.

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Okay, so now I am rereading (and remembering to breathe and engage my brain this time!). I guess I'm seeing where you are coming from. Just assume there is no other offer, then raise it with the college when and if one comes along, and decide what to do at that point. I suppose it is looking at the same situation from a different angle. Whereas, I would like to simply put every possibility on the table right from the get-go and make sure all parties are okay with that. But this is not how the real world works, I suppose.

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LovesLabor, as long as you know their deferral policy and stick within its boundaries, you're OK. Anything else, I doubt you are. Colleges do follow their own rules uniformly when it comes to deferrals.

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Like you, LovesLabor, I felt very uncomfortable not being upfront with colleges because we were nearly 100% certain from the outset that daughter would be deferring, either for a dance job or for one year's continued dance training.

 

But a former college admissions officer told me what to do, comforted me that it was done all the time and that we would not be considered in a bad light whatsoever. That has turned out to be true in my daughter's case and in those of other dancers whom we've known over the years. Colleges build in an estimate of expected deferrals each year into their statistics.

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The track we took, we would not have discussed deferral until an actual offer came in to choose another path. DD was not interested in continued training without pay and was only willing to accept a dance position if it came with pay of some sort. So for us, there was no reason to discuss deferring until there was an offer worth deferring for.

 

You can see how different dancer choices can make what to do different in approach. Nothing wrong with either choice, but they do shed different lights on when/how/if you address the deferral except for information with each individual college.

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LovesLabor,

 

Our DDs seem to be in a very similar situation this year. The college DD was accepted to seems to allow students to defer for one year and still have freshman status at the end of that year. I was suprised to read that along with deferment comes the caveat that she not take any college courses of any kind during that year. That may be standard, I just did not know that. We were hoping that she might take an online class or two while pursuing her dreams of dancing professionally. However, we do not want to risk her freshman status as the college is competitive to get in to.

 

It is an exciting, yet unsettling time for our DDs! Such a different path from DD's non-dancing friends, who know exactly where they will be and what they will be doing come the fall. Best of luck to your DD!

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LovesLabor, as long as you know their deferral policy and stick within its boundaries, you're OK. Anything else, I doubt you are. Colleges do follow their own rules uniformly when it comes to deferrals.

 

Vagansmom - yes, that would be my instinct.

 

 

You can see how different dancer choices can make what to do different in approach. Nothing wrong with either choice, but they do shed different lights on when/how/if you address the deferral except for information with each individual college.

 

Agreed. I can see that how DD prioritizes her goals here, will shape her decisions about how to handle all this. In the end, the risk has to be concentrated somewhere, depending on those priorities.

 

I also think it might not hurt to try to come up with a killer plan C that would be looked on favorably, by college, parents and student should she decide to do summer, but it goes nowhere. We'll see.

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Best of luck to you, too, Oceanperiwinkle. I can relate, to your 'different path' comment, as I'm sure many others do, also. I hate to almost wish away my dd's senior year, but I'm really looking forward to at least a modicum of relative peace next fall when decisions have at least been made! No doubt there will be fresh challenges, but such is life.

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There are policies, and then there are practices - not necessarily the same thing.

 

When my DD was in this situation, we spoke with Admissions about her situation and explained that she would not know her contract fate until sometime over the summer. They allowed us to forgo the usual decision deadline, and asked us to let them know as soon as possible whether she would attend. There was no date certain, for which we were shocked but grateful. We worried all summer that we could receive an ultimatum at any moment. We kept in touch with Admissions every couple weeks, and they checked in with us periodically. It was not until just before school started that we learned DD had a paid position. They were willing to let her defer, and if she did she would maintain freshman status but lose her scholarships. If she wanted to be reconsidered for scholarships, she would have to apply and audition again.

 

She took the contract and declined admission/deferral. She gambled that she would continue to receive paid positions (thankfully, she did), with the understanding that if it all didn't work out she would go through the application and audition process again. The only way the school would be affordable was with scholarships, so we decided the guaranteed acceptance was not worth holding on to.

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Lovemydancers, that is pretty much the same as what happened with my daughter except that we had to pay a deposit. Did you? My daughter also kept in touch with an admissions officer all spring and summer right up until her decision two weeks before the fall semester when she deferred. In her case, there were two substantial scholarships, grants and a hefty financial aid package. They guaranteed all but the financial aid package, saying we'd have to fill out a FAFSA again, which we did, and she was offered the same aid package. And then she deferred another year. At that point, they said they could not absolutely 100% guarantee the scholarships and grants, but privately the admissions officer said he'd be shocked if she didn't get them. They and she continued to keep in touch throughout that year too. We never got to any of that renewal process for scholarships or grants the second deferral year because by November, after spending 1 and a half years in the company, she knew she loved it and would be staying on, at which point she called them and removed herself from their school.

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You know, I can't recall if we paid a deposit or not. If we did, it was nominal, as it was not a factor in our decision making.

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lovemydancers,

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. I really do feel it would be better to have a conversation about this with admissions ahead of time. I already anticipated having to pay deposits etc. regardless, so that part we'll deal with without complaint.

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