Potential Outcomes of Your College Application and How to Handle Them

Over the next few days and weeks, high school seniors will be receiving replies to many of their Early Action and Early Decision applications. Whatever the verdict, all potential outcomes of this round of college application results can be managed whether they are exhilarating, or appear to be disheartening or confusing. Below is our general guide to handling any one of the many replies you may receive from a school.

Yay! Congratulations! You’ve been admitted to the school to start in the fall of the next year, as long as you don’t do anything spectacularly drastic or dumb. If you plan to attend the school, or even think you will, send in the housing deposit as soon as possible. Students typically have until May 1 to submit their deposit to secure their place at school, but some schools have first come, first serve housing lotteries.

This means you’ve neither been accepted nor rejected. Unlike a denial, a deferral offers hope and chance. You’re being considered as a regular applicant because the admissions committee wants to compare your application to the greater pool of applicants. If you want to improve your chances of turning the ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes,’ you need to do some work.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Don’t panic or despair. There was a reason you weren’t rejected straightaway.
  2. Get information. Contact the admissions office and see if you can find out why you were deferred.       Then ask for suggestions regarding turning your deferral into an acceptance.   By doing this, you’ll make the school aware of your commitment and get more information. Do not call if the college has specifically asked that students not call them.
  3. Send in improved standardized test scores. This is especially important if you believe your submitted scores may not have measured up.
  4. Send in your midyear grades if the college asks for them. Make sure you meet their deadline.
  5. Write a letter. Sincerely express your continued interest in the school and reasons why you believe it would be a good match for you. Be polite, concise, professional, positive, enthusiastic, and be yourself. Attach information about any new and meaningful accomplishments that are not in your original application like new activities, awards, or leadership positions.
  6. Send in strong and relevant additional recommendations. The best letter of recommendation discusses your unique qualities and why they make you an ideal match for a school. Do not send a generic recommendation. Once again, check to see if the college allows you to send extra letters before you send them.
  7. Let go. There is no one “perfect” school. Hope for the best, but prepare to go to one of your backup schools.

For whatever reason, the college has not accepted you. Don’t take it personally and don’t panic. After a denial, many students find a college they love. A large number of schools are still accepting applications, so regroup, refocus, and commit to the application process.

This means you’re literally on a wait-list. Whether or not you get off the wait-list and into the school depends on how many accepted students decide to attend the school. If you’re wait-listed and really want to go to your first-choice college, it’s still best to make a deposit at another school as an insurance policy. See the info about Deferral above to enhance your application.

Conditional Admittance
The school wants you, but you need to fulfill other requirements before they fully admit you. This may include completing a summer/special program, taking certain classes your freshman year, or sending in your year-end grades. Determine whether or not this is something you are willing to do.

Spring or Summer Admittance
Sometimes a student is accepted on the condition he or she starts classes in a term other than fall. Students can inquire if the school offers academic options, study-abroad programs, or other opportunities to fill the time gap. Determine if this is something you are willing to do.

Regardless of your outcome, we are proud of you! Should you have any questions about your results or need help improving your chances of getting admitted, please contact us. And please make sure to share with us your results.