Regardless of when a student applies, the wait for a college admission decision letter tends to feel even longer than it is. Below are a few tips to keep in mind:
- After submitting an application, students should hear back from the college. As a rule, within one to three weeks a college will acknowledge your application and inform you of any missing documents. The Common Application web site and most colleges give applicants the ability to check online to see whether all the pieces of the application have been received. If a document is missing, follow up to see if it was sent. If a few weeks have passed after a document was sent and it still hasn’t been received, call the admissions office. Follow-up until all necessary materials are marked “received.”
- Many colleges make admissions decisions available electronically. Usually, students receive an email indicating that a decision has been made, and are then instructed to log on to an application account to check their enrollment status.
- Generally admissions decisions arrive in March and April along with (or shortly followed by) a financial aid award letter. Though you may feel tempted or pressured to accept an exciting offer immediately, offers of acceptance are typically good until May 1st. As a rule, this gives you time to review all offers of admission, as well as each school’s respective financial aid package. For additional information on how to go about making an informed decision visit Peterson’s, College Bound.
- Carefully read your letter of admission and your financial aid award letter. Seek advice from your school counselor or the university if there’s anything you don’t understand. Typically, offers of admission are conditional, meaning that the offer of admission can be withdrawn if there is a significant change in a student’s academic or behavioral record.
- If you don’t get an acceptance you were really hoping for, it may be time to move to Plan B. Peterson’s, College Bound, offers some helpful suggestions for moving forward after a rejection.
- Just for fun: this article, from The Choice column in the New York Times, offers a variety of perspectives on waiting for your letter, making your decision, and staying positive throughout the process. It’s worth reading.