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Steps to Take After Being Denied or Deferred Early Admissions

December was a big month for college admissions. Many, but not all, colleges released their Early Decision and Early Action decisions. As the results came in, there was a roller coaster of emotions felt by students, parents, school counselors, and college counselors. We are thrilled to see that many students have been accepted into their first choice schools. If you were admitted Early Decision, make sure to read the information from your college/university, submit your enrollment deposit, and withdraw other applications to uphold your end of the ethical agreement you signed. But what happens if you didn’t receive the decision you were hoping for? Well, first of all, don’t get down on yourself. There's been a HUGE increase in applications over the past two years, and it looks like that trend will continue. As of November 1, college applications for Fall 2023 were up 41% from the 2019-2020 cycle. The surging amount of applications, unfortunately, leads to a lot of disappointment for some students.

If you didn’t get the news you wanted or were expecting, don’t panic! This is NOT the end of your college admissions journey. Here’s what to do next:

  1. If you were not admitted Early Decision, it’s okay, because there are other best-fit colleges out there. It’s normal to be upset, but this is not your defining moment. And, why would you want to go to a school that doesn’t want you? Take a day or two, and move on. Get excited about your other options!

  2. If you were deferred, we know it doesn’t feel great to be in limbo, but this “maybe” means there’s still a chance of being admitted in the Regular Decision round. Take this opportunity to strengthen your application. Make sure to keep your grades up, follow the college’s directions, and if the school considers demonstrated interest, remember to submit a brief letter of continued interest via email or your applicant portal.

  3. Some colleges may accept additional letters of recommendation - consider someone from senior year or a solid character reference (boss, coach, advisor, etc.). You are looking for someone to add something new to your application.

  4. Get excited about your other options. Remember, there are 3,000-plus colleges, so you have a lot of choices. That’s why you apply to more than one school!

  5. More deadlines are approaching, so if there are some schools you are still thinking about, submit additional applications, consider EDII, but don’t panic-apply. Apply to colleges for the right reasons!

  6. Remember, there is not one “perfect” school and this is just one step on your post-secondary journey.

We hope you enjoyed the holiday break… We are sure you needed it!


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