If you submitted your college application early back in October or November, late December and early January is usually a very exciting time for you as you are starting to hear back your early admissions results.
Not sure when will you know your early decision or early action results? Check out Class of 2027 Early Decision / Early Action Notification Dates.
There are three possible results that can happen: accepted, deferred, or denied. In this article, Insight’s Head of College Admissions Counseling Purvi Mody shares what each admissions decision can mean for you and what you can do!
(More of an audio learner? Check out Purvi’s YouTube video here.)
Congratulations! You may have one or several colleges to attend in Fall 2023. Whether or not you have to accept the school’s offer depends on the early admissions plan you chose when you applied. If you applied for early decision (ED), it is binding and means you are bound to attend that university. In other words, now that you are accepted in the ED round, you can celebrate! You are done. Don’t forget to withdraw all your other college applications, turn down any other offers, and get your new college swags!
Binding or nonbinding? Early Decision vs. Early Action – Which to Choose?
If you are accepted into your dream schools, congratulations! That is amazing news, and you have accomplished a huge feat. This does NOT mean you can just party all the way till Fall. What this means is that now you can enjoy your senior year of high school. Spend time with your friends and family (especially if you are going far to college). Make the most of it while keeping up your academics.
Why can’t you just take things easy? First, you don’t want colleges to rescind your offers. Your grades will have to drop significantly for colleges to take back the offers, but the chance is never zero. The other reason (possibly the more important one) is that you are going to be a college student in a few months. Odds are that you are going to a college filled with brilliant, smart cookies like yourself. You want to keep up the rigor, the stamina, and the work ethic, so that when you start college, you are already used to the pace. If you start to take things too easy now, then you will have to work extra hard to level back up when you start college.
Keep working hard and finish your senior year strong! The beautiful thing is that now you are studying just for yourself. I hope you are always working hard for yourself, but admittedly, I know that college admissions are always in the back of our minds. Now, with your early acceptance, you are truly 100% doing this for yourself. So please keep up your rigor and continue to work hard for you!
Whether you chose early decision, early action, or restrictive/single-choice early action, if you are deferred from the early admissions round, all that means is the colleges want to view your application in the context of their regular applicant pool. It is not a rejection. The college admissions office still finds you interesting and your college application compelling. In some cases, the admissions office wants more information before they can make a decision.
If you are deferred, continue to work on other college applications and apply during the regular decision deadlines. If you applied ED but were deferred and then later accepted in the regular round, you are no longer bound by the ED agreement. In short, if you are deferred and then accepted, you don’t have to attend that school. You are free to choose other colleges that offer a better financial package or a more appealing program.
What if you REALLY REALLY want to go to this college but got deferred; what should you do? Remember, you submitted your application back in October or early November. Now you have accomplished new things, such as your first semester’s grades, new activity achievements, or new responsibilities. Many colleges will allow you to submit an update or a letter of continued interest (LoCI). Some universities will have very specific forms that you need to fill out while others treat LoCI as optional. Be sure to check each school’s requirements carefully, so you continue to make a good impression.
Keep in mind that you are now competing with applicants in the regular round, and they will have at least six more weeks’ worth of information that they are submitting. You want to make sure you’re doing the same in your letter of continued interest. The information you want to include in your letter of continued interest could be
1. academic performance (without restating info from your mid-year report)
2. extracurricular activities (without repeating what is already on your application)
3. new hobbies or responsibilities
4. and any new achievements or awards
Finally, a few more key notes on the letter of continued interest:
1. Keep it short and succinct. Ideally, your LoCI should not exceed one page.
2. Check the university’s policy. Will they accept a LoCI? What should the format be? Follow those policies closely!
3. Spend some time working on it, just like you would on your college essays.
4. Send in ONLY ONE thorough update. Do not repeat information that is already in your mid-year report or college applications.
5. Make sure you send it at an appropriate time. Usually, this is mid-January, though different colleges have different specifications.
Read more on Writing A Letter of Continued Interest
If you are denied in the early round, that college application is completed for this year. The college does not want any additional information, and you cannot appeal that decision. You also can no longer apply for the same college this admissions cycle.
Sometimes a student may ask, “If I am denied in the early admissions round, can I apply to the same college in the regular deadline?” No. In one admission year, you can only apply to one time to a given school.
This is not the end of the world. This does not mean you are not hardworking or driven. It does not mean your college application was terrible. There are many, many great schools out there, and we hope that some of those colleges made it into your college list. In this case, you should focus on other colleges, polish your college essays, and perhaps submit additional college applications.
Those are the three early admissions results and what you should do in each case. The determining factor is your early admissions option. If you apply early action or restrictive early action, the result is not binding. You can still consider other offers as they come in. Though, I will say this final piece of advice: if you are accepted early into a college you’re definitely going to attend, stop applying. Give other applicants the spot. Alleviate yourself from the stress and time. Focus on making the most of your senior year!
If you are a sophomore or a junior planning ahead, don’t wait! Early application requires careful strategizing and early planning. Contact us today and schedule a 1-hour personalized college planning session with our experienced college admissions counselor to see how you can maximize your admissions chance!
This article was written by Insight’s Co-Founder and Head of Counseling Purvi Mody.
Since 1998, Purvi has dedicated her career to education and is exceedingly well-versed in the college admissions process. Her philosophy centers around helping kids identify and apply to the schools that are the best fit for them and then develop applications that emphasize their unique attributes and talents.