You've put a lot of effort into your early applications, and hopefully you’ll hear good news from colleges. That said, you could also get a deny or defer decision, and you want to be prepared. Here’s some advice on how to get through the coming weeks, as you hear back from colleges about your early applications.
1) Celebrate your acceptances! You worked hard, and deserve all of your success.
2) If you were admitted Early Decision – congratulations! Remember, Early Decision is a binding agreement, so you need to withdraw all of your applications to other colleges. Then, be sure send in your enrollment deposit!
3) If you were admitted Early Action – prepare to be recruited. When a college admits you, they want you to enroll, and they will do their best to make you feel wanted. Expect invitations to visit campus and phone calls or letters from current students; some schools will even send you t-shirts, scarves, or posters. Take advantage of opportunities to meet with students, spend the night in a dormitory, and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.
4) Your application might be deferred to the regular admission pool. This means that later in the year, probably in early spring, the admissions office will re-review your application and consider offering you admission for Regular Decision. Each college’s deferral policy is unique, so it is important to reach out to your admissions counselor and ask what they recommend you do to strengthen your application for the next round. In the meantime, you need to continue working on your Regular Decision applications to ensure you have a couple of options when you receive the rest of your decisions in the spring.
5) Unfortunately, you might also receive a deny letter, maybe even from your first choice school. It’s OK to be disappointed, but keep in mind -- most students end up having a great time at whatever college they attend, even if it wasn't their first choice. Remember, when you don’t gain admission to a school, the college didn’t reject you. Your application was denied. It’s a subtle, but significant, difference. A college may not have a space for you in the fall, but you’re still the same smart, motivated, and talented student you always were. Shift your focus to your Regular Decision schools and get excited about the possibilities that await you!
No matter what admissions decisions you receive in the coming weeks -- no admissions decision defines you. You still have a full semester to go and you want to stay focused on the present, so don’t let admissions decisions throw you off track.