Congratulations! You’ve officially submitted your college applications! You should feel proud and relieved, like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders, right? The question is now what happens? What can you expect to hear back from colleges?
Well, four things can occur. One, you can be accepted into the college. If this happens, you have until May 1st to make a decision whether to enroll or not. You can visit the college again, talk to current students and faculty, and wait to see what kinds of scholarships of financial aid packages you’ll get to help you decide whether or not to attend. Just make sure not to miss the deadline to send in your deposit. You don’t want your spot going to someone else!
Second, you can be rejected from the college. In that case there is nothing much you can do. While you can always try to call the admissions office and inquire as to why you were rejected, most won’t offer you a specific reason. They’ll most likely tell you that they had a very competitive applicant pool and there were just not enough spots for everyone. If this happens, it’s okay! Look at the other schools you’ve applied to and what they offer. You can have a great experience wherever you go.
Third, you may be waitlisted. If you are put on a waitlist it means that you are on the college’s radar but you are not their first option. Thus, if enough students who are offered admission, decline to accept, colleges will go to their waitlist to build the incoming class. If you are put on the waitlist, you can usually find out if the college has gone to their waitlist to accept students in the past. You can also call the college and reaffirm that you want to remain on the list, and you will accept if you are offered a spot. You could also follow up with a letter emphasizing how much you want to go there and any new information that might improve your chances of getting accepted.
Fourth, you may be deferred. If you are applying Early Decision or Early Action, this means that your application goes back in the pool for regular decision applicants, and it will be reassessed at that time. If you are applying regular decisions, and get deferred, it may mean that the admissions office needs more information before making their final decision. This could be missing information from you application, or additional test scores or final course grades. If you are deferred, call the admissions office to find out as much as you can about the reason. Your guidance counselor can also make a phone call to find out any additional information that may improve your chances of getting in.
Whether you are accepted, denied, waitlisted, or deferred, make sure you are on top of things with getting your deposit in or sending in additional information. Even if you don’t get into your first choice school, your college experience is what you make out of it. You’ll have a great experience no matter what college you choose as long as you are open to it.
Source: Acing the College Application by Michele A. Hernández, Ed.D.