Admitted, Deferred, Denied, or Waitlisted: Now What!?

Co-authored by Sarah K. Cook & Joslyn A. Giles

So you've submitted your applications! What happens next? Early Action and Regular Decision can give way to a few possible decisions: Acceptance, Deferred, Waitlisted, or Denied.


Admissions committees are charged with selecting an intellectually diverse and academically competitive class from each year's applicant pool. These students will ultimately have successful careers and become prestigious alumni of the institution. They recognize that not every applicant will attend the college but hope that the students granted an acceptance would commit by May 1st (National Commitment Day).


If you are denied, the decision is final, and the applicant must wait another year to apply for reconsideration. If you are deferred or waitlisted, you will not need to submit an additional application. Instead, a school may request additional information to support or potentially strengthen your application.


When an applicant is deferred, there could be a multitude of reasons why. Admissions committees may acknowledge that an applicant is worthy of admission but delay the decision to compare the student to the whole of the applicant pool. There could also be institutional needs considered as a part of the process. Ultimately the decision to grant acceptance or deny entry is usually disclosed with regular decision notification. There is an element of hope to being deferred, despite the discouragement of a delayed decision.


If you have been deferred, decide where this university falls on your prioritized list of college applications. If it is still a strong prospect for your future, consider these actionable items as you await the final decision:


  • Maintain communication with the admissions reps at your college of choice.

  • Update admissions of changes to your application that may affect your decision.

  • Ask your school counselor to send an additional transcript at the midyear point.

  • Consider submitting additional letters of recommendation.

  • Share your updated resume highlighting academic achievements, extracurriculars, or volunteer activities.

  • Consider disclosing Test Scores that may warrant academic merit.

  • Consider writing a letter to admissions regarding why you are interested in the institution and what you could contribute to the school community.

  • Revisit the university - demonstrated interest can still be a factor.

If an applicant is waitlisted, the process is a bit different. A waitlist decision means the college has finished reviewing the student’s application and has made a decision to ask the student to pause and wait for admission. Waitlisted typically means that the student is up for a potentially long wait. There are no guarantees and the admissions committee may or may not admit students. Furthermore, students may not receive a concrete decision until long after National Commitment Day, and in some cases, it may not be released until the Fall semester, if at all.

Staying positive can be a challenge, especially if you are worried about getting your desired result. It is essential to be mindful of your options; there are approximately 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. There’s only one of you. There are plenty of schools for every student, and wherever you elect to attend, it should be because the university matches your academic, social, and financial goals. This is an important reminder of the significance behind creating the right College Selection List that is purposefully in line with your interests.

When students choose a range of schools to apply to, from safeties to matches to reaches, obtaining a 100% acceptance at every school is not a guarantee. There are a multitude of variables to consider, and ultimately the goal is to have options. There is always an element of chance, and it is essential to remember this as you receive decisions.

CBCR resourcefully works with families to create a strong College Selection List that aligns with a student’s academic, social, and financial goals. Approaching Application Season confidently, in August of 2021, with a support team, will enable students to apply with proper support and guidance throughout the admissions process. CBCR is currently accepting Juniors in the Class of 2022!

Contact College Bound, Career Ready, LLC for an initial consultation by emailing collegeboundcareerready@gmail.com or utilizing the Contact Us page on our website http://www.collegeboundcareerready.com.

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