how to handle early decision results

If you applied Early Decision, you have probably recently learned about whether you got in. Regardless of the decision, there’s still work to do! Here’s how to handle Early Decision results.

What should I do if I got deferred?

First, don’t be hard on yourself. Colleges can only accept a certain number of students.  Keep in mind that most colleges in the US actually accept most of their applicants, so there’s a college out there for you!

Second, you may need to follow up on the college that deferred you. Some colleges have a formal process that allows you to follow up on your deferment. Ask the college about their process if you haven’t received the details.

For example, the University of Pennsylvania requires Early Decision deferred students to have their school counselor submit the student’s Mid-Year Report by February 15. The students can also upload a document (reporting on new achievements and other updates) to their applicant update link by January 31.

In your update to the college, reaffirm that the college is your first choice. Consider calling the admissions office to ask why you were deferred. Although the admissions office may not give you a direct answer, listen for hints that might tell you, for example, if your test scores weren’t high enough.

For students who were either deferred or not accepted

Focus on your Regular Decision applications. Even if you were deferred and have a chance to update your application, focus your energy on your other applications until around January 1st, when most Regular Decision applications are due. After the bulk of your applications are done, follow up with the Early Decision school that deferred you. Of course, if the school requires sooner or immediate action, take care of that in a timely manner.

In addition, re-evaluate your school list and double check that you have “just right” schools. If you applied to Ivy League Plus schools, keep in mind that those colleges are reach schools for just about everyone. At “just right” schools, your GPA and SAT/ACT scores would be at or above the average of the accepted applicants. Take a realistic look at your workload and the available time: add more “just right” schools and possibly subtract some reach schools.

Your College Advisors Guide to A is for Admission
I got in—now what?

Take a moment to celebrate! However, celebrate graciously, and avoid unintentionally showing off. Other students may not have gotten in, and most others are applying Regular Decision.

Although it would have been best to check the costs earlier, you still have time to use the college’s net price calculator to get a good estimate of your out-of-pocket costs. Generally, even though Early Decision is binding, you can get out of Early Decision for financial reasons. If it looks like you can’t afford your Early Decision college, communicate with both the financial aid and admissions office to see how to best move forward.

Regardless of the decision

Continue to do well in high school, and maintain good character. Your school counselor will need to submit a Mid-Year Report to many, if not all, of the colleges you’re applying to.

Moreover, be picky about what you post on social media. In the past, colleges have rescinded or canceled admissions offers due to students’ questionable social media pots.

Final Thoughts

If you got deferred or didn’t get in: Regardless of the Early Decision result you got, keep moving forward with your applications. You’ve got this!

For those who got in: Senior year isn’t over yet, so keep up with your schoolwork through the end of the year.

(Photo: University of Minnesota Duluth)