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Deferring a year: how to approach?

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I am starting to think seriously about college, altho it's a couple of years ahead for my daughter. How does one approach the issue of possible year deferral so that a student can audition and see what's out there before commiting to academia (and a non-dance major)? I'm afraid honesty with interviewers at very competitive schools will result in rejection- after all, they have so many possible applicants that would be thrilled to enter right after HS. Experience of those who have been thru it?

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Dufay, colleges really don't expect the students to discuss deferral at the time of application. For one thing, the 6 months between applications and acceptances is a LONG time in the life of a senior in high school. Those are transition months where what a student thinks in the fall and early winters as she fills out those applications may not be at all what she thinks in the spring when the replies come in. She may not want to defer come spring. So you don't want to make a decision in the fall that isn't necessary till later just in case your daughter's situation changes. Colleges understand this very well.


My daughter informed the college in the summer following high school graduation that she would be deferring. Up to then she did not know definitely what she would be doing the next year although she was certain she didn't want to start college then. We had already paid the deposit, a requirement, for her freshman year so we lost that.


But the school treated it as business-as-usual, was very encouraging to her when they found out what she'd be doing, and they continued a conversation with her all that next year. They didn't guarantee her scholarship or grant monies but the next March, she was offered them all again. She told them at that point that she knew she wouldn't be attending for the second year in a row and wasn't certain after that. Again, they were very friendly, encouraged her to keep in touch but said that at that point, she'd have to reapply if she wanted to attend in the future. She continues to receive literature from them.


That seems to be the standard process, one that I think is enormously fair and even generous. Schools are used to it and in fact, they prefer more mature students so it is to their benefit.

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I know a dk that was accepted to a prestigious Ivy league university about a year ago. (Aside from being a talented dancer, this kid is incredibly bright and thoughtful.) At the time he was also pursuing auditions at several companies, so it was unknown at that time if he was going to continue his dance career or take a detour and attend college.


He ended up being offered an apprenticeship at a ballet company and decided to take it. He asked and was given a year's deferral from the university when he told them of the company's employment offer (though it was an unpaid position).

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I'm going through this situation right now. During the application process, the question of deferring doesn't even come up. Once you're given notice of acceptance, you can inform them of your wish to defer for a year.


Most colleges are very supportive of the decision to defer, and will guarantee acceptance the next year. I know of a few schools, even Ivies, that will guarantee acceptance for years! :shhh:


I think that in the senior year of high school, all students should apply to some universities. Deferring is always an option for serious pre-professional students, and it is good to know that if company auditions are not sucessful, there is a university waiting with open arms to recieve them. It is much better to have that option open, then to go into auditions without it. :innocent:

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Vagansmom is correct, the time of acceptance is later and sometimes situations change. Last year, my DD deferred acceptance to a 4 year non-dancing University. We, just called them, explained the situation and they said OK. There was a small fee of 250..........but in the long run, that really is not too much. When one considers SAT fees, prep classes, traveling etc. We probably pay close to that in audition fees.!!!



She will not use that referral, as she is happy as a clam in her current situation!!


good luck to you--I know how stressful this time can be............ :shhh:

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  • 3 months later...

Bumping this one up for another question. Does deferring an acceptance (and scholarship) to a college for one year prohibit someone from applying to and accepting admission and/or scholarship to a different institution the following year?

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Very good question e's mom. One I had not thought of. I do know that if we defer, the college has already told us we must have a written notice from the company she will be with. I'm assuming this is so that they do not have students deferring one college to "try out" another.



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Whether it's legal or not is one thing, but I'd consider it unethical.


When my daughter deferred from a college that had given her a nearly full 4 year scholarship, we'd already signed the papers and sent in her deposit. When they heard why she wanted to defer, they were very supportive of her decision. (In general, colleges like deferring students.) They did tell her at the time that, although they thought she should feel fairly secure about the package, there was a small chance that not all the scholarship monies would be available the next year because it would depend on whether or not they had another student in their pool of applicants who deserved those scholarships more.


But she kept in touch with them throughout the next year and they kept the same offer in place. She let them know in March that year that she would not be attending their school for the second year in a row. At that point, they told her she'd need to reapply for the scholarships should she attend after her two years deferral. They still felt that she'd probably receive all if not most of them (she was their presidential scholar, a university scholar, talent scholar, and a bunch of smaller grants), but they didn't come close to guaranteeing them.


We felt they were tremendously kind and generous to her. Most schools will not allow a student to defer for more than one year without going through the entire college application process all over again. In daughter's case, this school allowed her two full years before stating she'd need to reapply should she decide to attend in the future.

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Not sure I'd consider it unethical in the dance frame of reference by the nature of the beast. So many dancers choose the top ballet colleges because of the level of the instruction not because it is truly their major of choice right off the bat. If they defer, and then feel their dancing is done (after that initial year or two) and now want a PT degree or nursing, etc. Then that original college may or may not fit the bill. One would hope it would, but many times it will not.


One would hope it would always work out so simply. But nothing in this ballet game seems to.



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I just had to chime in. Deferrals depend on the school. We went through this last year with a very strong student. The state university where DD had essentially a free ride told us they did not do deferrals and DD would have to re-apply the next year. A more prestigious school was more gracious. The only way we found to get the info was to ask - we could not find it in catalogs or websites.

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My son is deferring this year and one of the rules was that he not "attend or apply" to another college or university. Hope this helps.

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I know people have mentioned this before, but prestigious schools definitely are welcoming of deferrals! A lot of students from my school defer a year, one I can think of deferred a year from Harvard and was guaranteed acceptance, and another from Dartmouth. I think as others have said, that it is probably better to wait until after acceptance to mention this possibility. The girl who deferred from Dartmouth left to compete in the Winter Olympics, which is somewhat similar to performing with a ballet company, right? :D

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