Roadmap to College: Notified by Colleges and Admissions Decisions (page 2)
When Will I Be Notified by Colleges?
You will be notified by colleges at different times in your senior year, depending on how and when you applied. The chart below lists approximate dates for receiving decisions:
|Types of Admission||Expected Date of Notification|
2–8 weeks from the date your application is complete
|Early Decision II||February|
Regular Decision (deadlines through Feb. 15)
Regular Decision (deadlines after Mar. 1)
How Will I Be Notified?
There are several ways in which colleges inform you of their admission decision. There are no standardized methods for this important notification, so you can check with each college or your guidance counselor to find out how you will be notified. Possible options include:
- Mail: Some colleges still use good, old-fashioned snail mail.
- Phone: Some private colleges use the telephone to deliver good news.
- E-mail: You may receive an e-mail with your decision or you may be instructed to check your online account.
- College Web site’s online account: If you have set up an account and have been given a user name and password, you may be able to “check your status” on the college’s Web site in the admissions section. You should make sure to set up your account before decision notifications have begun to prevent any potential problems with logging in to your account.
Softening the Blow or Magnifying the Joy
What Are the Possible Admissions Decisions?
As we have discussed previously, applying early through rolling, early action, or early decision plans results in earlier notifications of college decisions. Notifications can consist of the following decisions:
- Deferred admission
- Conditional acceptance
An outright rejection is a possible outcome from schools which were your “reach” schools or from schools where your credentials were below what the college was looking for. Once the decision is made and after your initial heartbreak, it is best to focus on hearing from other potential schools. There may be some schools which offer an appeals process, where you can ask for a re-evaluation of your application based on new or additional information. You can ask the admissions office if this is a possible course of action for you.
Being deferred from an early action or early decision school is a common notification which many schools use to “hedge their bets.” They are not ruling out that you will be admitted, but they are waiting to see what type of students will apply during the regular decision process. If you are deferred, you can take that as a good sign your application is being considered, but it is not a guarantee you will eventually be admitted. You may want to keep in contact with your college admissions officer during this period to keep him or her updated on your recent activities and your continued interest in their college. If you are deferred, you will most likely receive your final college decision with the regular decision applicants.
A conditional acceptance is a possible notification if your application looks promising, but you may have a deficit in one or more areas, such as grades or SAT/ACT scores. A conditional acceptance may require you to take a reduced course load (taking fewer courses than other students) or to be placed on probation for the first semester or for the first year. Probation means your academic progress may be monitored to ensure you are not at risk of failing courses or dropping out of college. Another possible option is that you may be admitted to an alternate semester, such as summer or spring, or to an alternate campus. You should read your acceptance letters carefully to find out if you have been accepted to a university’s main campus or to a less rigorous satellite or alternate campus. You can then evaluate if starting at an alternate campus is a good plan for you, and ask if transferring to the main campus is an option later on. Attaining high “freshman retention,” ensuring freshman come back for their second year, is an important goal for colleges. Admitting you on a conditional basis may help you stay on track for your freshman year, and if you are doing well in college, you can complete your conditional terms of acceptance and move on from there.
An acceptance is what you’ve been aiming for during the college admissions process. It is a time for celebration of your hard work during high school!
A waitlist notification from a college means you are being seriously considered for admission but you have to wait until late spring or summer to be notified of a final decision.
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