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Now that you've dotted all your "˜i's and crossed all your "˜t's on your college application and perfected your essays - bring on the acceptance letters! Ok, so it doesn't exactly work that way. Truth is, you might be stuck in limbo about your future for a little while.

When To Expect A Response
Stop biting your nails! You might have a lot of time to bide, depending on when you sent your application in for review.

Those who made the early decision deadlines should receive a response before the New Year. If you applied for the regular decision deadline you'll probably start receiving toward the end of March or beginning of April. If you can't take not knowing exact dates, you can always check the colleges' websites to see if there is more specific information listed.

Don't worry "“ there are a few things you can do in the mean time to distract you from the waiting game:
  • Rest Easy... Track and make sure you receive a receipt of confirmation for your applications from each school. If you haven't gotten confirmation after about 3 weeks, contact the admissions office and have someone check on the status of your application. If mid-April comes around and you wonder why you haven't received a letter from your school, you've waited too long. Check to see if your potential schools have the option of tracking your application status online. This will help you make sure that all necessary documents have arrived, including your transcripts, test scores and recommendation letters.

  • ...But Stay Alert... Don't completely abandon your mission. Prepare yourself for that (can't-come-soon-enough) time when your letters start to arrive by continuing to learn about your potential schools. Connect with their social media networks and sign up to get their newsletters. Make sure that you notify your potential schools of any changes to your grades or official records.

  • ...While Enjoying Your Senior Year! Fu-ghet-about-it for a while! By now, you've done all you can do! Take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back for the hard work you've done and leave the rest to the forces of the universe. It's your last year of high school "“ enjoy it by attending dances and games and spending time with your friends and cheerleading team! Obsessing over your college status won't get you the answer any faster, and as an added bummer it can cause you to miss out on a great year!


How To Expect A Response
Gone are the days of the stuffed envelop vs. the light-as-a-feather envelop. These days, colleges are getting more creative with their acceptance process, and much less creative with their rejection process. Whether you are impressed by all things shiny or feel like all the glitz makes the process less personal, you should prepare yourself for any of these options:
  • Traditional Mail. While at first this option doesn't seem creative at all, consider that many colleges are now sending acceptance "packages" instead of just letters. These packages include all kinds of things, from bumper stickers to T-shirts to confetti. Even the packages themselves are being redesigned "“ they are getting bigger, colorful and more elaborate than the standard letter.

  • Email.To save on paper and postage costs, many colleges will give you the option of receiving your status notification by email.

  • Text Message. You thought it was bad enough when your parents started texting, but now colleges are doing it too?!? Yes, it is true. The trend is only used for acceptees; rejectees still receive traditional mail.

  • Certificates. Have you ever seen someone's degree, framed and hanging nicely on the wall, and thought "Sheesh, that should really have a buddy."? Well, some schools are now sending out authentic certificates of acceptance.

  • Videos. Believe it or not, some schools are sending its acceptees electronic notification that includes a link to a video of fireworks, a cheering crowd and other celebratory depictions.


Since there are so many different ways for colleges to send application statuses, don't expect any one thing in particular. Some acceptance letters come in tricky thin envelopes so you need to invoke the "don't judge a book by its cover" saying when it comes to your letters.

What To Do With A Wait-listed Response
What if your limbo ends in....more limbo? If you get put on the waiting list, you'll have some decisions to make. Here are some tips from CollegeBoard.com's What To Do If You're Wait-listed article:

Respond and let the college know whether or not you want to stay on the waiting list. It makes sense to keep your spot on the list only if you're really interested in going to the college.
Before you decide, find out whether there are any conditions attached to being wait-listed. For example, since you're notified later than other applicants, you may have fewer housing and financial aid options.

Even if you decide to remain on the waiting list, prepare to attend another college. Choose the best fit from the colleges that accepted you, fill out the paperwork and send a deposit. You'll forfeit this deposit if the college that wait-listed you offers you a place and you accept. Still, you need to be sure you have a place in an incoming freshman class next fall.

If you decide to stay on the waiting list, be proactive. Here's what you can do to boost your chances of being accepted.
  • Contact the admission office to find out your rank or status. The higher you rank on the list the better your chances of being accepted.

  • Realize that you've already achieved something. You were wait-listed, not turned away. Many students were not as successful.

  • Reconsider the colleges that accepted you. If you would be just as happy at one of your other choices, send in a deposit and plan to attend that college. Then turn down the spot on the waiting list. You'll be surprised how much better you feel after your decision has been made.


This brings the College Series to an end! Visit CollegeBoard.com to read What To Do After Choosing A College, How To Choose Which Offer To Accept and more resources on preparing for college!