Graduate Blog / Graduate Admissions

What is a deferral?

Greetings from Babson, where we recently celebrated not that we are the #1 school for entrepreneurship, but that we are the ONLY school for e-ship.  I’ll save the picture for the end of my post, but let me say that Olin Hall witnessed an outpouring of school spirit, Babson green t-shirts, the Babson Beaver mascot, and a minute-long wall of celebratory noise in recognition of who we are.

App tip of the week this week is really not an application tip, but a post-admissions tip regarding deferrals.  I wanted to be very clear about how Babson Graduate Admissions thinks about deferrals so that you have reliable information to help you make the right decision. 

When you apply to a program for a specific date of enrollment, you are saying that, barring all unforeseen (and unplanned) circumstances, you will be able to enroll should you be accepted and choose that school. When a school admits you, that is what they are thinking as well–that you want to attend the enrollment period to which you have been admitted, for which you have been reviewed along with the many other applicants who also want to enroll at that time.

When you request a deferral, you are really asking not just for a school to hold a seat for you until the next enrollment (generally, in the next year), but for the school also accept that ultimately, you will  show up for Orientation in the following year.  As implicit contracts go, this is fairly simple but heavily weighed in the candidate’s favor.  Why?  The school will not rescind its offer, but you can ultimately decide not to honor the deferral and not enroll after all.

First, try not to hedge your bets when you are applying to graduate school.  Of course you can apply to more than one school.  But I would NOT recommend simultaneously applying to:

  • MBA programs,
  • Ph.D. programs,
  • a social service internship,
  • the Peace Corp, etc. 

It is unlikely that all these institutions or opportunities have the same deadlines or start dates.  Something is bound to conflict and in that conflict, you are going to think that a deferral may be answer to what to do with the B-school admissions offer.  Not always.

Second, understand what a school considers as a strong reason for granting a deferral.  Babson very seldom grants deferrals and we grant them on an individual, case-by-case basis. When we do, we do so because unforeseen and truly unexpected situations have suddenly occurred in a student’s life, making her unable to enroll on the start date she originally chose.  Major personal or family illness, catastrophic natural disaster, civil or political unrest–all unexpected and all reasons we have granted a deferral.  Deciding to look for a new job or scheduling a world tour are examples of some less compelling reasons.

Should you find yourself thrilled by your admissions to Babson but facing an insurmountable set of circumstances that lead to you conclude you cannot attend this March, May, or September, please contact your Admissions staff member. The team will be happy to review the details with you and advise you on whether a deferral is possible.

And now, as promised, here is Petia Whitmore, the Babson Beaver, and me, on Babson Spirit Day, Thursday, February 21, 2013.

Babson #1 Day with Babsons Beaver

Good luck.  Think Big.