How to Request an Admissions Deferral

It occasionally happens that you’ve been admitted to your dream school, but the timing turns out not to be right. You need an extra year before you start school, and you cross your fingers hoping your school will let you take the time you need before matriculating.

I myself deferred my admission to Harvard Kennedy School for one year and for Harvard Business School for two years. I’ve helped dozens of clients request one-year deferrals and all the clients I’ve worked with have been granted the deferral. However, the past is not an indicator of the future, and I always tell my clients to be prepared to not receive the deferral and to have an action plan in place for not receiving the deferral.

When should you request a deferral?

You should only request a deferral if you absolutely need it. Admissions committees chose you and admitted you for this incoming class—not a subsequent one—so they don’t “owe” you a deferral nor do they like giving them out. Requesting a deferral will not result in you losing your place in your class; you may just cause some annoyance and the need for some extra shuffling in the admissions office as they try and hit their ideal yield numbers for the year.

You need to request a deferral before you accept your place in the class and pay your deposit. Requesting a deferral after you’ve already accepted a place in the class and paid your deposit can cause a logistical headache for the admissions office, making it much more likely for them to refuse your request.

You should NOT request a deferral so that you can apply to a “better” school while having a safety net. This is unethical and, if discovered by your schools, could cause you to lose admission at both schools. If you get admitted to a school you aren’t excited to go to, you can always turn down your admission and reapply to schools you actually want to attend in later years.

Why should you request a deferral?

One reason to request a deferral might be that funding you thought you had for school fell through and you need an additional year to work and save money or to reapply for fellowships and financial aid.

Another reason might be that you had a serious personal situation arise such as a death in your immediate family and the need to financially support your surviving family members.

You may receive a job offer you can’t refuse or simply be admitted to a complimentary masters program at another school that you want to start before going to your other program.

Sample Deferral Request Letter (send via email)

Subject: Deferral Request for Kaneisha Grayson (Applicant #123456)

Dear [insert name of specific admissions officer who signed your admissions letter],

My name is Kaneisha Grayson (Applicant #123456). I was recently admitted to the MBA program at Yale SOM. I’m ecstatic to have been admitted to the incoming class and can’t wait to join.

I am writing to request a one-year deferral to the program.

[Here is where you insert the reason for your request. Keep this part concise and professional. Focus on succinctly stating the situation, stay solution-focused, and don’t try to appeal to sympathy; just state the facts and make your request.]

In order to hold my place in the following year’s class, I am happy to submit the form and deposit.

Please let me know if I can provide any additional information. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Kaneisha Grayson

After you submit your deferral request

You should check back in with the admissions office if you don’t hear from them within two weeks. DO NOT let the deadline pass for accepting your place in the class if there is a chance that you can make it work to go to school immediately.

If you do receive the deferral, be sure to follow up on any next steps such as submitting your deposit, submitting any other forms they need, taking any pre-matriculation coursework they ask you to take, etc.

Then, make sure you get your affairs in order so that you are absolutely ready to matriculate in the following year’s class. In the past, I’ve helped one person receive two back-to-back deferral requests, but this is rare, and I don’t recommend you try it. He was an extraordinary applicant with extraordinary circumstances, so just don’t try it.

Congratulations on being admitted to your dream school! Enjoy your last few weeks or months before your schedule, social life, and professional life takes a new direction!


Need help getting an admissions deferral?

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132 Comments How to Request an Admissions Deferral

  1. David

    If I was accepted to a dual degree program and am requesting a one year deferral from both programs, does that imply that I will need to submit another one year deferral next year for the program where I will start the second year of my degree program? Or is it implied that I’m requesting a one year deferral to start the dual degree program as a whole? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Great question! You should request a one-year deferral to the school you’ll be starting at and a two-year deferral to the school that comes next. This is exactly what I had to do when I deferred going to HKS + HBS to spend a year in Ghana on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. I requested a one-year deferral from HKS and a two-year deferral from HBS. To my two-year deferral school (HBS), I outlined very clearly in the deferral letter what I would be doing in Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3 (matriculation) so there would be no confusion.

      Reply
      1. Jihyun

        Hello Kaneisha. I was wondering if you ever known a situation where a person deferred one year and withdrew the admission the following year but still got in after re-applying after couple years? Do you think it might be better for a person to reapply hoping that the admission would not notice this person applied previous years ago or should this person mention he/she got in but deferred &withdrew due to personal matter then try to get in again? Your comment and advice would be very much appreciated and thank you in advance!

        Best,
        Jenny

        Reply
        1. Kaneisha Grayson

          Hi Jenny, that’s a tricky situation. I haven’t had that happen before with a client. The school application will ask if you have previously applied to the school, and you should answer that honestly. Therefore, the school will know that you previously applied. I don’t feel optimistic that the school would grant you yet another deferral. However, if you simply aren’t ready to matriculate, you can always request another deferral. If it isn’t granted, then you would release your spot in the class and reapply. I hope it works out!

          Reply
    2. Matt

      Hi Kaneisha
      I have recently been accepted into my first choice university which I am thrilled about. However, I do not feel ready to go to university next month due to the chance of work and to gain some other qualifications. Because of this I decided to ask for a deferal but I did not mention the reason. I heard today that my request to defer was declined due to me not reaching the grade requirements they asked me to even though I still received the offer.
      I was just wondering if there was anything else I can do to be able to defer my offer but still keep my place, thanks
      Matt

      Reply
      1. Kaneisha Grayson

        Hi Matt, you could take some supplementary courses and then request a deferral again. However, it sounds like their mind is made up. 🙁

        Reply
  2. Scarlett

    Do you have any suggestions on how to tactfully request a deferral due to mental health issues (e.g. Depression, addiction)?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Scarlett, that is a great question. When requesting a deferral for one’s own mental health issues, all you need to tell the school in your letter is that you are experiencing “personal health issues that would best be addressed during a yearlong deferral.” I would reiterate your enthusiasm for attending the school and your commitment to making sure you are maximally prepared for the experience. You don’t need to specify whether it’s mental or physical health. If the school denies your request, I recommend you write a second letter (a deferral appeal letter) being more specific about why you are requesting the deferral. However, you don’t have to get so specific to say “I’m struggling with a gaming addiction.” You can say, “I’m working through a treatment plan for a mental health issue” or something like that. Thank you for your question!

      Reply
  3. Albert

    Great article!

    What if a deferral was granted and they tell you they can’t guarantee same level of funding for next year? Would it be wise to apply to other programs in case the program I accepted does not match its original financial offer?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Schools don’t like it when you commit, request and receive a deferral, and then apply to other schools. That said, it would probably be a good idea to apply to other schools as well as for fellowships and financial aid at other schools in case the school you are deferring doesn’t give you the financial aid you need.

      Reply
  4. elife

    I have accepted my offer to HKS MPA, paid my deposit, even started my visa process but it seems like my organization might not support me due to the recent election in my country.I’m a government employee and would be financially supported by my agency. We don’t have a government right now and the air is full of early election rumors. Do you think it is a good reason to offer a deferment ?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Please understand that I am not a lawyer, and that this is not legal or immigration advice. I think you should keep moving forward on your visa process, and wait and see what happen with your country’s political situation before requesting the deferral. Perhaps you could make the call two weeks before classes are to begin whether you think it’s best for you to go ahead and go to HKS or to stay back. Of course if your agency will no longer financially support you, it would be best for your finances to wait and go to HKS when they will. Thanks for your question!

      Reply
  5. R_martinez35

    Hi Kaneisha,

    I got into a top MPP program and they offered me a full ride. I just found out that I got into a top MBA program at another school. Do you think the MBA program would let me deffer in order to attend the MPP program as its a nice compliment to the MBA. This would also give me time to get my finances in order for the MBA program as the MBA program did not offer me aid. I appreciate any advice.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Congratulations on getting a full ride to a top MPP program! Congrats as well on the admission to a top MBA program as well. The only way to know if they will give you a deferral is to request one! Use the advice in the blog post above to craft your request letter. You can also send the draft of your letter to my team to review via our essay editing service (even though it technically isn’t an essay). Best of luck on your process! I’m excited for you!

      Reply
  6. Edmond

    Hi Kaneisha,

    This article really helps me a lot on how to prepare for a deferral request. I have a question about getting a deferral from an unfunded PhD program. I received my admission after the usual April 15 and without any funding. It is mentioned in the admission that I may request a one year deferral as long as the fall semester has not started. There seems nothing related with the accept date of the admission letter. So I am pretty confused about whether it is too late now to request a deferral? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Edmond, first of all congratulations on your admission. HOWEVER, I would never recommend someone attend an unfunded PhD program. NEVER. You can read more about how disastrous the PhD job market is right now at a different website here. You submitted this comment a few weeks ago, so I’m not sure what you ended up deciding to do. I wish you well and give us all an update!

      Reply
  7. Naftalee

    Have being admited into the university and having a financial problem so I want to defer for a year to organisation myself back into school

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Yep, that’s a common issue. You should request a one-year deferral in written form (not through a phone call) using the guidelines outlined in this post.

      Reply
  8. Eke Agwu

    Helo Keneisha i got an admission in the University to study civil engineering and i was doing a computer progam for 6 month but could not complete it, Eventually i was told by my Registrer to write a letter of defferment. In this case how Are my going to start? And where will i start from?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Prakash, your application to the university itself is already a statement of your request to be admitted! If you have been waitlisted, you can write a follow-up email to the school to reiterate your enthusiasm for their school, any updates on new accomplishments you want them to know about (do not repeat information from your essays), and your hope that you will be admitted. I hope it works out!

      Reply
  9. ishola olaide

    I have a serious financial problem and I can’t afford to pay for the next coming school fees so I want to write a defermation letter to the school to grant me a year for me to go and work

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Ishola, you can certainly write to the school and request a deferral for this reason. Make sure that the one year deferral will actually be enough time to get the money you need because the school may be unlikely to request you a second deferral if after your first deferral, you still don’t have enough money to pay the school fees.

      Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Akua, I believe many schools would consider a deferral request due to pregnancy. You would need to submit your request and then see what the school says!

      Reply
  10. Ruoxi

    Hi Kaneisha,

    I was recently admitted to a master program and are waiting for notifications from other programs. However, the program admitted me requires a deposit by Dec 8; and I want to defer it to at least Dec 15 for news from other schools. How can I argue the deadline in email? Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Lizi

    I got into the MPA at HKS last year. I thought I was about to get a substantial promotion at work, and asked to defer for a year.
    I got the promotion. It has been an amazing professional experience. I feel like I just can’t leave less than a year after starting my new role. Is there any chance that HKS will defer just for one more year? Is there a special way to go about this?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Lizi, congratulations on getting into the MPA at HKS and congratulations on your promotion! It sounds like you are winning! Requesting two deferrals in a row is tricky. In my memory, I have helped one client get a two-in-a-row deferral. In fact, HKS said no to his request for a second deferral at first, and I defiantly said, “No! You are NOT going to give up on your dream of going to Harvard! We are going to ask AGAIN.” We asked again, adding in some more information to influence their decision, and he was granted the deferral. It can’t hurt to ask, but I wouldn’t count on getting it.

      Reply
  12. Tariq

    Hello Kaneisha,

    I would like to write an application to few schools for the admission of my sun who will be in grade2. i have been trying many times for multiple schools but did not got any response from them. can you please help me on the same

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Tariq,

      We don’t work with applicants to primary/elementary school. However, a quick search reveals these results of admissions consultants for elementary school. I wish you well as you try to get your son enrolled.

      Reply
  13. Pablo

    I want to defer admission in my school but i dnt kwn to write the letter so can u plz write it 4 me??? Plz!!! I want to defer de admission for a session bcoz of financial problem tankz i wil be happy if u help me out…… am pablo

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Pablo,

      We don’t write essays or deferral letters for applicants. If you write the letter yourself, we are happy to edit it for you before you submit it to your school. Best of luck!

      Reply
  14. arjun

    HI KANEISHA,
    I applied for masters in the fall of 2016. But am now looking to get married in 2017 and defer the admission to fall 2017. Is marriage a viable reason to defer the admission?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Arjun, since the timing of your wedding is a personal choice, I do not think that getting married is a viable reason to request a deferral. Many of my classmates at Harvard–whether from the U.S. or another country–got married WHILE in school. It is definitely challenging to balance wedding planning with homework, recruiting for jobs, having a social life, and actually getting some sleep, but it can be done. However, you can request the deferral and see what they say. I suggest you have a backup plan in the (very likely) case they deny your request. Thank you for your question!

      Reply
  15. Kareem

    Hi Keisha, what are the chances of getting deferral for a yeat due to suddenly sole parental responsibility issues that one needs time to make arrangements for before enrolling.

    Secondly, if the whole application and admission process only takes 4-6 weeks, don’t you think the university might not believe your story thinking one should have already known the problem, given the short time period

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Kareem, I think that admissions committees would be sympathetic to you unexpectedly running into issues as the sole parent. I don’t know what you mean when you say that the whole application and admission process takes only 4-6 weeks. It takes many months! Don’t worry about whether the admissions committee will believe you; you need to submit your request and see if they will be convinced that you need a deferral and it works for them to allow you to defer a year. It helps if you include in your request the specific steps you will take to make sure that you don’t run into the same problem again and end up having your studies interrupted. Thanks for your question! (Also – my name is Kaneisha–not Keisha.) 🙂

      Reply
  16. Beth Flanagan

    Thank you for the helpful and informative article! Would you recommend applying for deferral for a year by email or by a written/typed letter mailed to the admissions office? Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Beth, you are welcome! For a one-year deferral from college, you should send your request via mail and via email (to the same person). For graduate school, sending just an email is fine. Thanks for your question!

      Reply
        1. Kaneisha Grayson

          Thank you for saying so, Arnie! Sometimes, I really wish I had my own office with an in-person team. However, the internet is a wonderful thing in that it allows me to interact with and advise people from all over the world!

          Reply
  17. BENI TRESOR MUHOZA

    Hi Kaneisha Grayson, I hope you are doing well.
    I write this comment to ask about the Admission or Deferral Letter.

    I want to apply for a scholarship I saw online and among the request documents they ask for that letter, I don’t know about it!

    So I would like to ask where to find it, and what is the requirement to get it?
    As information,I am doing my taught master at AIMS-GHANA, BIRIWA(Accra-Cape Coast Road).
    Please send me the answer through my mail.
    Thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Beni,

      I don’t provide free coaching advice via email, but I’m happy to give you some advice here. I think that your scholarship application is asking for your “admission letter” or your “acceptance letter”–not a deferral letter. When you were admitted to the school, you probably received via email and/or mail a letter saying, “Congratulations! You have been accepted! Here are next steps…” This is the letter that the scholarship application is asking for you to include. It helps them make sure that you have actually been admitted to a school. If your school did not give you an admission letter, you want to contact the admissions office of your school via email and request one. Be sure to give them your full mailing address in case they want to send it via mail. I would be very surprised if they did not give you such a letter. I applied to and was admitted to a Masters program at University of Ghana and I received an admission letter all the way in the United States! Best of luck on your scholarship application!

      Reply
  18. Mona

    Hi Kaneisha:

    Thanks for the helpful template and advice. I am considering a third deferral in-a-row to an MPH program for financial reasons. Based on your comments, I’m wondering whether this is feasible. The first two deferrals were because of two incredible fellowship opportunities. Now, my savings will not cover the cost of attendance unless I save for another year, but I don’t want to lose my spot and burn any bridges in the process. I also just got offered an extension on my current fellowship (but only to Spring 2017) to finish my projects, and considered including that as justification for my request. Should I even be considering deferral? I would be grateful for any thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Mona, I think a three-time deferral would be a very hard sell. However, the worst that could happen if you ask is they say no, and then you have to decide whether you are going now or forfeiting your admission. I think the AdCom will see your lack of savings as a failure to plan, considering you’ve known for 2+ years that you’d need to pay for school. I don’t see how the extension of your fellowship is relevant to your deferral request, so I would leave that out. If you don’t have the money to pay for school (and you haven’t been offered student loans or don’t want to take them), I think you should request another deferral (but don’t expect them to say yes) and then spend the next 1-3 years saving your money and deciding if you really do want to get an MPH–or if you want to do something else completely different with your savings.

      Reply
  19. Buba Jumai

    Hey please I don’t understand something does the letter have to be via email or can you just write scan and send?

    Reply
  20. Christina Li

    Hi!

    I was just accepted into my top choice MPH program and I have been thinking about attending this program for a few years now. My original plan was to matriculate this August, but I’ve been living and working in China for about 5 months now and there have been many personal and professional reasons for me to stay here another year. I’m not sure what type of reason to give to best secure a deferral. I could mention financial issues since I do want to continue working in China to save up more money. However, another reason is because there are certain professors in my MPH program whom I want to work with and who do very interesting research in China and by staying longer, I have the ability to expand my knowledge on the language/culture.

    Actually, the main reasons are because I want to spend more time with my family in China (I’m Chinese but spent my whole life in America and now want to be with them since I haven’t seen them in 6 years) and because I want to work on my Chinese fluency so that in my career, I can continue to work on projects regarding China.

    As you can see, my reasons are multifaceted. I’m not sure which one is best to focus on. Though I don’t technically NEED this deferral, it would make me a lot more prepared (and frankly, happier) entering graduate school.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Christina, I suggest you focus your deferral request on the professional development opportunities that are available to you if you stay in China an additional year. Prepare yourself to receive a no, and have a plan for what you will do in the case that your school rejects your request. Will you turn down your admission and stay in China? Will you leave your contented life in China to go off to graduate school? I think you should make whichever decision you think will make you happiest. If necessary, you can reapply to graduate school once you are really ready to leave China. Remember that any merit aid or financial aid you received from the school is usually ineligible for deferral.

      Reply
  21. Caylin

    Hi Kaneisha,

    Thanks for sharing such helpful information!

    I was accepted into my top choice MBA program with no funding. I’m considering requesting a deferral to save more money over the next year. If I improve my profile in that time, would the school reconsider offering me some money or am I better off withdrawing my acceptance and re-applying in the next year with a stronger profile? It was a top 20 program and I applied within 4 months of deciding to pursue an MBA. I’m confident with another year I could make myself more attractive.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Caylin, in my experience, business schools aren’t enthusiastic about deferring admission for that reason. It comes across as you having failed to financially plan for the experience. I suggest you request the deferral (I’m not sure what reason you should give, but it doesn’t hurt to ask), and if granted, spend the next year saving your money and applying to as many scholarships and fellowships as possible. You could reject your place and reapply, but there is no guarantee that you will be admitted the following year. Congratulations on getting in though with such a short lead time!

      Reply
  22. laura

    Hi Thanks for the great post! I am planning to defer masters in a Canadian university. but I am not sure whether the school actually allows for deferral of admission. In this case, should I ask whether the school has such policy before requesting deferral? I am not sure how to go about doing it. Thanks for your advice!

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Laura, I recommend you request the admissions deferral directly using the format and instructions in this post. If they don’t grant deferrals, then their answer to your deferral request will be no. There’s no reason to ask for permission to make a request. Thanks for your question!

      Reply
  23. Maya

    Hi Kaneisha,

    Thanks for writing this! It’s very helpful. I got into law school and I’m very excited about it, but I’ve realized I don’t want to go straight to school next year (It’s my senior year of college now, and I think some time outside the classroom would be good for me)
    I’ve applied to a couple Americorps programs, but I’m worried I won’t hear back in time to defer before my deposit is due. What would you advise?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Maya, congrats on your admission to law school! I suggest you request the deferral citing a specific professional opportunity that you are particularly interested in pursuing, and list some reasons how this experience will make you an even better law student. I worry that once you start working, you will want to stay in the “real world” for at least another 2 years. Thus, make sure that your deferral request isn’t just a short-term stop-gap to a deeper issue. Are you SURE you want to go to law school? How will you pay for it? If it is via student loans, do you know how much you’ll need to earn in order to repay the loans comfortably? Have you researched the employment rate of graduates from your target school pursuing your target area of law? These are all important questions to know the answer to BEFORE you commit to law school–or any graduate program for that matter. Best of luck in making your decision!

      Reply
  24. Zideal Meshichi

    Hi Kaniesha,

    My visa was rejected under 214 b and now I would like to request the school to defer my admission to next academic session. How shall I ask the school to accept my request and what reasons for deferment should I provide to the school?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Zideal, you should use the template in the blog post above and use the reason you just told me: your visa got rejected so you can’t come this year. I hope it works out!

      Reply
  25. Ebube

    Hello, i must say i am glad i stumbled upon this, what you are doing is really good and you should keep up the good work. My wife and i applied for a Mph degree in the same school and we both admitted but she is currently pregnant. I wanted to know if it is a good enough reason to defer and state that her husband been admitted and would definitely enrol is a good reason why she would definitely enrol next year. She wasnt told to pay any fee but was told in the admission processing portal to select if she wants to defer. Would be expecting your reply. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Ebube, congratulations on your baby and on getting into your MPH program! It sounds like your school has a very straightforward deferral process if there is an online form where you can select that you would like to defer. If you need to do more than just click a button on a form, then yes, go ahead and request a deferral via a letter, and let them know that you are enrolling this year and that she is committed to enrolling next year.

      Reply
  26. emilate

    Pls madam,
    I have a finacial challenge from my sponsor, am in level 200, and my HOD ask me to write a letter for deferment of one year to him, but I don’t kw how to start and end the letter plz help me

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Emilate, I suggest you use the example in the blog post above as a template for your letter.

      Reply
  27. Audrey

    Hi Kaneisha,
    Thanks a lot for this invaluable article.
    Can one ask for a two-year deferral?
    I got accepted to harvard for one year MPH but I didn’t receive as much funding as I was expecting so I want to defer my enrollment in order to work and save money for the program and other costs that go with it. Also, I might be able to get a job closer to public health than my previous one. But I am afraid that one year will not be enough for me to do all this and I feel that it would be safer to apply for a two year deferral straight away.
    I would love to hear you thoughts on this.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Audrey, I’ve never dealt with this situation actually! I deferred HBS for two years but it was a part of the 2+2 program. It wouldn’t hurt to ask, but I am doubtful they would grant you a two-year deferral outside of a formal program like HBS’ 2+2 program that includes deferral. I hope it works out!

      Reply
  28. Vinayak

    Hi Kaneisha! This is a great article. It seems to have laid out the fundamentals of deferring in quite a straight forward manner.

    I am considering a one year deferral for HKS MPP as am getting a great opportunity to work for an Indian state government. This is exactly the kind of role I would have hoped to play after the MPP. Having said that, I have not received any funding from HKS and the student debt will not allow me to take up such positions for at least 4-5 years after the 2 years course. In fact I might have to take up a private sector job to repay the loan.

    So, I am thinking of writing to the admissions office about this. This one year exposure will improve my understanding of relevant topics as well as give me a great hands on experience. May be even make more more worthy for funding and further employment.

    What do you think?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Vinayak, I like your idea of requesting a one-year deferral to HKS for this excellent job opportunity. If they don’t grant you the deferral, you will then need to decide if you’d rather take the opportunity of the job or go straight to HKS. Congrats on both opportunities!

      Reply
  29. Paige

    Hi Kaneisha,

    Thank you so much for the article and all of your comments – I struggled to find much out there!

    I got accepted at HBS and had every intention of going. This week, a close friend of mine invited me to sail around the world with him for a year. While this is not a traditional reason to defer, I do think it will be a huge growth and learning experience for me. Have you seen anyone request a deferral for something like this? I have no intention of applying to other schools and am 100% committed to attending HBS.

    As a follow up question, are schools more likely to allow 1 or 2 years of deferral?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Paige, first of all, congratulations on your admission to HBS! While a round-the-world trip sounds very cool, I think it is a VERY slim chance that HBS admissions will grant you a deferral so you can sail around the world. As long as your request is well written and humble rather than demanding, I don’t think it would hurt to ask! You need to get clear on whether or not this trip is more important to you than your opportunity to go to HBS. Best of luck on making your decision!

      Reply
  30. hezekiah oladipo

    Hi Kaneisha,
    I want to ask question about my admission deferral…i got admission into school of business and i lost my dad during the process….The school have resume now …and i have never send letter to the school….And i wish to differ my admissions till next year….first…is he not too late …And second…How do i write them…i will like you to advice me please

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Hezekiah, my condolences to you on the loss of your father. It may be too late to request an admissions deferral, but there might still be a chance, depending on whether or not the deadline to request a deferral has passed. You should email the admissions office of the school to which you were admitted to inquire about this situation.

      Reply
  31. Emma

    What if my deferment is as a result of short time to process VISA, should I still say personal issue in my letter?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Emma, no you should tell the truth that you don’t have enough time to get the appropriate visa in order to matriculate. It is not guaranteed that the school will grant your deferral as most schools advise international students to apply in earlier rounds or deadlines to avoid this situation. Best of luck with your situation!

      Reply
      1. Maxine kwarteng

        Helloo kaneisha…i am exepected to enroll this fall for my masters program but i would want to defer due to health and finances….what do i do plus what if a person asks for deferral and is granted for a year and the year the person must begin she is already a couple of months pregnant what must she do again after an already deferred letter…thanks

        Reply
        1. Kaneisha Grayson

          Hi Maxine, if you get granted a deferral and need another year, you can request an additional year of deferral. The school may or may not grant the deferral.

          Reply
  32. OLUWASEUN

    HELLO KANEISHA GRAYSON
    I GOT ADMITTED TO FOR MY PGD AT CANADA, BUT MY AGENT NEVER FORWARD ME THE ADMISSION LETTER NONE TOLD ME NOT UNTIL I PERSONAL MAKE ENQUIRE ABOUT ME ADMISSION STATUS FROM THE SCHOOL WHICH STATED THAT HAVE BEEN ADMITTED FOR MORE THAN A MONTH AND IM LEFT WITH LESS THAN A WEEK TO PAY AND RESERVE MY SEAT FOR THE COURSE.PRESENTLY IM MY SPONSOR IS ILL AND CAN NOT MEET UP TO THE DEADLINE..IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO BE DEFFER MY ADMISSION AGAINST NEXT SEMESTER..THANKS

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Oluwaseun, I’m sorry that happened! That sounds very frustrating. You should definitely request a deferral as soon as possible. I hope it works out!

      Reply
  33. Beatriz Guerra

    Good evening Kaneisha,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for the great article. It really helped me a lot, as an international student (and first time application) it is very clarifying…

    Now, my question:
    I just got accepted in an civil engineering master’s program. However, due political instability in my country and financial issues, I would like to defer my enrollment to next year. Is this a flimsy excuse?!
    Do you know what are my chances due my financial condition?!

    Thank you very much!

    Best regards,
    Beatriz

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Beatriz, you are very welcome! I can’t comment on what your chances of receiving a deferral are. However, I will say that I think a school will be understanding to your situation of wanting to defer a year due to political instability and financial issues. I hope it works out!

      Reply
  34. Geo

    Hello, I recently got admitted to Columbia School of Professional Studies. I had really planned well to finance my education but unfortunately due to certain reasons I am not able to meet the finances required for funding the program. Actually the reason is I had a land sale deed but unfortunately it did not work out so I am unable to finance my education. Also now the time is short for me to find another buyer and by the time it works out maybe there is no time for me to apply for visa. Do you think this is a valid reason requesting for extension? Thank you for your advice

    Reply
  35. Austin

    Hi Kaneisha, you are really doing a nice work here.
    Please I would like to know, do I need to accept the pending offer before asking for the deferral or do I go ahead and apply for the deferral without accepting the admission offer?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Austin, you should ask for the deferral before you accept the admission offer. That way, if they reject your request, you can make a clear decision about whether you really want to go to the school this upcoming year or not.

      Reply
  36. Joan

    Hi KANEISHA
    I had an admission to two universities in the UK and both admission came with an offer. I applied to common wealth shared scholarship for support but it wasn’t successful and i don’t have enough funding this year so i want to write a deferral letter to the universities, how should i state the problem or i should tell them exactly what i just wrote?

    Reply
  37. martins

    helllo
    i got an admission into a collage in canada , i have paid part of my tuition fee ,and even started the process of the study permit for September intake and it takes three months . i would want another admission letter just incase i m being ask by the interviewer to bring another admission letter because of the short time that is being involved

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Martins, it doesn’t seem like you’ve asked a question. I hope your situation worked out!

      Reply
  38. Fred

    Hi
    Kaneisha
    Thank for the great services you are offering in this context.

    I’m one person who have an offer for my dream master degree in one of the UK universities. I also have a scholarship award for this degree. My problem is, i have a start-up company which is now doing a contract farming for many big hotels in our city, but i still don’t have a strong team who can run the project in my 1 year absence. Now i’m considering deferral for at least one year as i build a stronger team and a particular person to take over my roles. I don’t want also to lose this scholarship. How can i approach these two institutions?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Fred, congrats on all your success thus far! You should request a one-year deferral for both your admission and your scholarship. It’s often very difficult to defer a scholarship though, so you may have to give it up if you want to defer. You should definitely do a pros and cons analysis of sticking with your startup and possibly losing your place at the school with a scholarship vs. leaving behind your startup for the full ride at your dream school. Neither option is necessarily better; it’s about what matters more to you in terms of your current goals and values.

      Reply
  39. Starjet

    Hi kaneisha
    base on ur analysis my is quite complicated. Am a 200level student who wants to travel and my exams are in a month tym shld i defer on de reason dat i intend to travel or say for financial contraints,and sayin financial issue it appears to many pple hav being using it

    Reply
  40. Sera

    If a person gave entrance test for a university but did not get through it. And he or she still wants that college only. So to write it to the chancellor of that university to give him or her one more chance.

    Reply
      1. Kaneisha Grayson

        Hi Sara, I respond to comments about once per month. For urgent inquiries or if you want a private response to your question, you should consider the email coaching package.

        Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Sera, you can always ask for another chance to take the test and submit your application late or resubmit it. However, in my experience, it is not likely that your request will be granted. Best of luck.

      Reply
  41. GWEN

    Hi Kaneisha,

    Thank you for this very helpful post!

    I was offered a place in my chosen MA course at a very good ranking university in the UK but haven’t accepted the offer as still waiting for the scholarship. The school emailed back today that my scholarship application was not successful. I could not afford the tuition fee if not granted the scholarship. Should I mention this financial difficulty in the deferral letter and that I will re-apply for the scholarship next year thus wish to defer my study til then?

    Thank you very much!

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Gwen, yes I do think you should mention the financial difficulty in your deferral request. You should also consider submitting a financial aid appeal letter.

      Reply
  42. Imran

    Hello,
    I am happy to stumble upon this and I’m looking for a quick response please. I was Admitted to Newcastle University and offered a place for a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering with Biomedical Engineering, and i am suppose to be starting September 2016. I was expecting that by then i would have been Naturalized, as i live in a British Overseas Territory, so that i would be eligible to get my British Passport and pay local school fees but there has been a delay in the matter. Is this an eligible reason to apply for a deferment?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      A delay in your immigration status certainly seems like a worthy reason to request a deferral, but that doesn’t mean that your school will grant it for you. Congratulations on your admission to Newcastle University and I hope it works out!

      Reply
  43. Alfaki

    Hi KANEISHA GRAYSON
    I received unconditional offer to study MSc of Human Anatomy at university of Dundee 2016-2017. It very unfortunate that i didn’t win the chevening Scholarship which i was applying for. Now i want to apply again for the scholarship. would you please give a sample how to request the reason of my deferral letter.
    Your reply will be appreciated

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Alfaki, congratulations on your admission to University of Dundee. The blog post you just commented on provides a sample email to request a deferral. Best of luck!

      Reply
  44. Vijay

    Hi,i got admitted into a university in US,but could not attend the classes for this semester due to unforeseen domestic reasons.can I just mention the same in my deferal letter or do I need to mention the specific reason.kindly help me with this

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Vijay, you can simply say that you had an unexpected family emergency arise; you don’t have to share personal information beyond that if you are not comfortable doing so. Best of luck!

      Reply
  45. Etim Utibe

    pls I had admission seven months ago, I accepted the admission but never went to the screening neither do I paid my fees due to financial buoyancy. pls is it too late to apply for Deferment?

    Reply
  46. Etim utibe edet

    pls I had admission seven months ago, I accepted the admission but never went to the screening neither do I paid my fees due to financial buoyancy. is it too late to apply for deferment?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Etim, I’m not sure if it’s too late as I don’t have enough information about your situation. I suggest you reach out directly to the school to request the status of your admission. I hope it works out!

      Reply
  47. Ian

    Hi KANEISHA,
    I was admitted to an international school in France and I was hoping to get Financial Aid (FAFSA) from USA. Unfortunately, the FAFSA couldn’t help me because the school is not registered with them. I am trying to deferral my admission to the school hoping to apply for scholarships. I am going for an Engineering school grade level, can you pls direct me to some good websites or organizations to apply for scholarships. Thank you so much

    Reply
  48. satyajit

    Hi Kaneisha,

    I’ve applied for Masters i’ve paid my admission fees but I need more 5 months for arranging rest of my funding because my loan was cancelled,
    So I’m planning to go for next intake admission in January.
    What should I mention in my deferral email?
    Is this an eligible reason to apply for a deferment?

    It’s very urgent

    Regards,
    Satyajit

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Satyajit, considering that you mentioned that this is a very urgent issue, I assume that I’ve missed the window to provide helpful information. I hope this worked out!

      Reply
  49. Nina

    HI, I am asking on behalf of my goddaughter; Due to recent diagnosis of on depression; ( we have the letter from the psychiatrist) she did not attend classes nor complete her asssignments for her final year Bachelors degree, final semester. And they have taken her out of the student list; unfortunately ; we only found out about this recently; We are meeting with the university head to try to ask for a deferral. What would you recommend as strong arguments to receive a deferral. appreciate your comments

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Nina, thanks for your question. I would recommend that you present to the university head the arguments that the school’s graduation rate would be higher if she is withdrawn (with the option to return later) rather than dismissed from the school. Graduation rates are important to school rankings, so it’s important they keep their graduation rate as high as possible. Secondly, you could share her treatment plan with the university head to show that she’s getting help to cope with her depression. Thirdly, you could try and see if a lawyer might take on her case pro bono to deal with it as a legal issue. I hope that this works out!

      Reply
  50. busi

    hi
    I am busi pursuing business administratio postgarsduate studies. would the school offer me a deferal on the basis of work commitments? did not submuitt my course work therefore that disqualifies me foer siiting for an exam.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Busi, I’m not sure that work commitments will be a compelling reason for deferral. However, you should at least request the deferral and see what the Admissions Committee says.

      Reply
  51. Bebey chaly

    Hi Kaneisha,
    I am admitted to a good business school and have paid the deposit to start classes in one week. another B-school iam more interested in is showing serious interest to my profile but will offer admission 2 months after my classes begin.
    can I request deferral to explore my best option?
    If I end up starting at this school, can I drop after 2 months when admitted to my dream B-School?
    Thank you in advance for you advices.
    Charly

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Bebey, my reply is coming too late to help you with your situation but I hope that it worked out! Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  52. Anthony

    Hi Kaneisha, i am excited by the series of advice your gave. I was admitted into M Tech program last month for 2016 session but i realized i would no longer meet up with the quoted year since i am still processing my study permit which would likely come out within 4 -6 month. Do you think deferral letter to commence the program next year would help the situation since the registration for the year may close any moment. I wait for your response.

    Anthony,

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Anthony, my reply is coming too late to help you with your situation but I hope that it worked out! Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  53. Mohammed

    Hello thank you for such kind of information i applied for my MBA france inseec 1 year program but i got only 6 months of visa i paid my addmission fee also my school starts from 7th of oct 2016 my my visa starting from 7th of sept 2016 now i want to deferral it the next intake now i dont want to go to france for this intake. Will i loss my money,in the mean while of visa processing i got my family personal issue also i need to sort out it so i want my this addmission for next intake will you please suggest me
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Mohammed, my reply is too late to help you with your situation (nor am I sure that I would have been able to be helpful), but I hope that it all worked out!

      Reply
  54. sowmiya sree

    HI,I have got admission to Industrial engg in Purdue university and this was something i have been chasing for a year. But its a little unforunate now that I have to actually start a business which was overdue two years itself and now the project is in full swing. I feel that one year deferral will do the needful stabilization for the business and I can then start my masters. How exactly do I put forth this? And get a positive reply

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Sowmiya, congrats on your admission to Purdue’s Industrial Engineering program and your entrepreneurial adventure getting underway! The free advice I have to give about going about getting a deferral is in the blog post you commented on. If you’d like The Art of Applying team to edit a deferral request statement you’ve written, we can do that via our essay editing service. You could also purchase hourly coaching to get 1-on-1 coaching for the process. Remember that a deferral request is just that—a request—so your deferral might not be granted. Best of luck!

      Reply
  55. Timotheaus.

    Guday, i was given a provisional admission into college of dentist(second choice) and i was told to do the registration within a week, i battle for my best choice to no avail but my plan is to battle for my best choice again before dis second choice came in, i have hop of getin my best choice nex yr and i need one yr deferral. Will dis complain genuing to have the one yr deferral Or i should talk of finacial problem? Am confused because people were sayin i should go and start, pls ur idear mar.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Timotheaus, congrats on your admission to dental school! A school will not grant you a deferral if you tell the school that you want the deferral so you can apply to your top choice school. You will need to give the school a different reason for your request for deferral or let go of your place in the class if you want another year to apply to other schools. Best of luck!

      Reply
  56. Fasharra

    Hi,

    I am currently applying to masters programs in political science. However, I have recently thought about maybe teaching abroad for year instead. Because of all the work and time that I and others have put into my applications, I was wondering if admissions would think this was a valid enough reason for deferment?

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Fasharra, whenever someone is feeling the call to teach before going to grad school, I say “Go for it!” Grad school isn’t going anywhere, but your enthusiasm for teaching may wane and become a dream deferred. Since you’ve already put a lot of time and effort into applying, you may want to go ahead and submit your applications and then ask for a one-year deferral once you’ve received your admissions decisions. I’m not sure if schools will think it’s a valid enough reason to defer, but you can always ask. Best of luck!

      Reply
  57. Albert Nwokeke

    I was offered admission for master’s program in August 2016 and because of my mother’s illness I got a deferral for just one term. When I received the i-20 form on 17th December 2016. To pay for SEVIS fee and schedule visa interview was not feasible. And now the embassy has closed for the year and the date given to me for arrival into United State was 3 to 6 Jan, 2017. The question now is, is it possible to get another deferral to enable me go for the visa interview.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Albert, congrats on your admission to your program. I’m sorry to hear that your mother is ill. I hope she has a speedy recovery. You should definitely request an additional deferral. It’s up to the school whether or not they will grant the deferral. Best of luck.

      Reply
  58. Mike W.

    Hello , Kaneisha – Thank you for the great post! I have a qq reg. M/C MPA @HKS:

    What are the chances of getting a 1-year deferral to take care of my pregnant wife (wife will be 2 months pregnant w/ twins when admission decisions are out). Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Kaneisha Grayson

      Hi Mike, you are welcome! If your wife will be 2 months pregnant with twins by mid-March 2017, it sounds like she just found out she is pregnant (or is not yet pregnant…?). Either way, I’m not sure how compelling this reason will be to the AdCom since family planning is a part of career planning and it seems like the timing of this could have been avoided. However, it never hurts to ask, so if receiving a deferral is important to you, make sure you submit your request as soon as possible after you receive your admissions offer. Best of luck and congratulations! I have twin nephews, twin cousins, twin second cousins, and twin brother-and-sister-in-laws. I love multiples!

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Hello, Kaneisha – A follow-up questions If I got admitted and would like to defer, does it matter if I request a deferral before or after releasing the financial aid package (and of course before signing the admissions letter)? Is it better to request deferral as soon as you receive the decision?

        Reply
  59. Mike

    Hello, Kaneisha – A follow-up questions If I got admitted and would like to defer, does it matter if I request a deferral before or after releasing the financial aid package (and of course before signing the admissions letter)? Is it better to request deferral as soon as you receive the decision?

    Reply
  60. Mary

    Hello Kaneisha,

    Thank you for your helpful advices!

    I was admitted to LLM program in Boston and received about 20K grant. I haven’t accept/decline their offer/grant yet. I’ve experienced recently health problem that need to receive treatment with doctor once a week, so I am asking Adcom for deferral. Would they give me financial package again next year?

    In the meantime, I am planning to explore and apply other program i.e. MBA at the same university. I already received student number. Would B-school know and reject me?

    Reply

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