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Getting Accepted, Waitlisted or Rejected

Getting Accepted, Waitlisted or Rejected


Admissions decisions arrive in the spring for students who applied regular decision or who were deferred from the early admission pool. This marks a turning point because it has a big impact on your future. The consequences of the acceptances, waitlisting and rejections are often wrapped in extreme emotion. So here’s how to cope with each possibility.

Getting Accepted to Your Dream College

Once you come to terms with reality, give yourself a pat on the back and tell your family and loved ones! Try to remain humble around your friends who are still waiting to hear back from colleges, or possibly even the same school. Be classy about your success.

You have until May 1 to make a decision. You have the power now. Before accepting the offer of admission, consider whether you can afford to attend your dream college. How will you pay for your education? What kind of scholarships and/or merit aid were you offered? What is the net price of the college?

If you can afford the college and you know it’s the right place for your higher education, let the college know you’re enrolling and let the other colleges know that you will not be enrolling. The earlier you let other colleges know, the sooner they can open up another spot for a student on their waiting list.

Getting Accepted to Two or More Colleges

If you got into multiple colleges and are not sure which to choose, the best idea is to visit or revisit each college campus. Sit in on a couple classes, check out the dorm life and wander around campus for the overall vibe.

Another great way to narrow down your choices is to compare prices. Calculate the net price for each college, by subtracting just the gift aid (grants and scholarships) from the total college costs. If one college is offering you more money, see if the other colleges are willing to increase their financial aid offers.

Being Waitlisted

If you want to ride out the possibility of being accepted to the college, send in your waitlist confirmation card. You also can contact the college to let them know you’re still interested, so you can stay on their radar.

Earn any new good grades, awards or test scores? Let the college know about your success. If you’re super serious about getting accepted, encourage your counselor and the folks who wrote your college recommendations to contact the college and reinforce their faith in you.

Be sure to send in your acceptance and a deposit to one of the colleges that admitted you by the May 1 deadline. That way, if you aren’t accepted off the waitlist at your dream college, you still have somewhere to go. Sure, you’ll lose the deposit if the college admits you off the waitlist, but that’s a small price to pay.

Getting Rejected

Take about 24 hours to mope and feel bad for yourself and move on. If you hold a rejection letter too close to your heart, you’ll hinder your growth. Plus, you’ll forget about it soon enough. 

Do not hold out hope about somehow turning the rejection into an acceptance. Sure, there are mythological stories of big errors causing a college to reverse their decision, but they are very, very rare. Overall, trust that things will work out for the best.

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