Thinking about seeing if your school will let you push out the start to your MBA?
Most schools will say, no problem! All you need to do is reapply next year and we’ll see about letting you in again.
They want you to apply for the year that you want to start. They’re not interested in managing their admits to future classes. Plus, most who ask for a deferral are only doing it to see if they can get accepted at some other school, and they want to keep their admit to this school in their back pocket as a backup. The stats show that a high percentage of deferrals that are granted never show up on campus. The schools often just issue a no-deferrals policy to nip all that nonsense in the bud.
It’s a case where YMMV, both in terms of how your specific school (and program) handles deferral requests, and whether you might be one that they’ll grant an exception to. Let’s look today at some policies we’ve seen schools post in the past – and please recognize that this data was gathered over a period of many years and some of it may have changed since then.
If you’re actively considering seeking a deferral for your current MBA admit, you’ll want to research the specifics carefully before proceeding with your approach to the adcom.
DEFERRED MBA ADMISSION – A FEW CASES
Duke is unusual in spelling out the full policy publicly — this is part of their FAQ as of 2/15/18:
What is your policy on deferred admission?
We encourage applicants to apply for admission in the year in which they wish to matriculate. If circumstances prevent you from enrolling in that year, you may request a deferral by writing to the Associate Dean of Admissions outlining all details surrounding the request. Requests for deferral will only be considered after May 1 for students who have already submitted their tuition deposit.
They then go on to specify that “Deferrals are granted only in the case of significant, unanticipated, and unavoidable personal emergency” and they give some examples.
If a deferral is granted, you are required to pay a non-refundable deferral fee of 3,000 USD. This fee will be credited toward tuition upon matriculation. If a scholarship is awarded in the year the applicant applies, this award is not guaranteed for matriculation the following year. Scholarship awards will be re-evaluated during the admissions cycle prior to matriculation.
So that means you need to first pay the deposit, and then pay an additional deferral fee. We’ve not seen a deferral fee before but it makes so much sense, and we wouldn’t be surprised if other schools adopt this practice, too.
Some other programs at Duke including their master’s in analytics don’t allow any deferrals . So it’s not only case by case (they’ll consider your circumstances individually) but it’s also program by program, not just one blanket policy for an entire school.
As of a few years back, Stanford built logic directly into their app form that will tell you whether or not you’re eligible for deferred admission, and they ask you what you want to do with the time between (only current students are eligible). They specifically say that you are NOT eligible if you simply fail to secure a visa as an international student.
Most people don’t apply to bschool with the intention of asking for a deferral later, though, so that’s unlikely going to help you much now. Also, if you were accepted to Stanford and now you’re thinking that you don’t want to go, well there’d better be a pretty good reason for it!!! Don’t assume anything. Yes they like you enough to admit you, but we’d be careful about pushing the limits of that. Stanford is very clear that they’ve admitted candidates into a specific class, and there are no guarantees that they’d find a spot for you in next year’s class just because you made it into the mix this time. We’d be pretty nervous about testing fate by taking a pass on a Stanford admit under the assumption it would work out again the same next year.
Other schools just say “no deferrals” and you can of course still ask, but like with a post-admit request for
free money a fellowship grant, be careful how you do so.
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