The period immediately surrounding the release of EA/ED college application results is full of anticipation and big emotions, and it’s understandable if you’re feeling caught up in the intensity of the last few days. However, once you’ve processed the news, there are a few important steps to take. Whether you’ve received an acceptance, a deferral, or a rejection from your EA/ED school, we’ve outlined the crucial “next steps” below.
Congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment and your excitement is well-earned. Take some time to celebrate your success with loved ones, and enjoy the process of preparing for college.
If you were accepted Early Decision, the most thoughtful thing to do for your fellow applicants is to withdraw all of your remaining applications. However, if you are waiting to receive a financial aid package to determine whether or not you’ll be able to attend your ED school, don’t withdraw those other applications yet—wait until you have all the necessary information.
Remember to tell your high school counselor and recommenders about your acceptance as soon as possible—and thank them for their support during the process! Lastly, be mindful that many of your friends and classmates may not be as excited about their early admissions results as you. Celebrate, but be respectful of other people’s experiences when sharing your results with peers who are also applying this year.
Give yourself a pat on the back! The admissions officers thought your application was strong enough to warrant further consideration, which you should absolutely consider a win.
If your early school accepts application updates, prepare and send a concise letter of continued interest. To ensure that the letter adds value to your application, you should hit two key points:
Express specific reasons for your interest in the school, particularly programs, professors, courses, etc. that you’ve discovered since applying—no repetition from your original application essays. Make connections between your interests/goals and the unique opportunities you hope to pursue at this school.
Include any new leadership positions, awards, scholarships, or other accomplishments you’ve had since submitting your application. It’s okay to brag here! The goal is to show the admissions officers your continued commitment to your academics and ECs during the second half of senior year.
Lastly, be sure to revisit your personal statement and activity list and look for any areas you’d like to polish before submitting RD applications.
A rejection is painful to receive, and it’s fair for you to take a day or two to recover and regroup. Remember that this rejection does not define you as a person, nor is this single college’s admissions decision a judgment of your worth or potential. And while it’s understandably easy to become passionate about one dream school, the truth is that you will be able to learn, grow, and thrive just as much at countless other schools.
As soon as you can, return to your applications with a new sense of determination and drive. Revisit your entire application and look for areas for improvement, particularly in the personal statement and activities list. This process may make you cringe, but that’s okay! There is still time to revise your application for the regular decision round. Are there activities you could explain more clearly so that they better showcase your achievements? Is your personal statement’s conclusion not quite what you hoped it would be? Take your time and don’t be afraid to make changes or corrections. You can revise your personal statement and activities list for all schools to which you have not yet submitted an application.
Consider requesting outside feedback from a teacher, family member, or friend who you trust to give constructive advice. Although any criticism is often hard to accept, especially for something as personal as a college application, an outside opinion might be exactly what you need to make final revisions and submit your next round of applications with confidence.
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” —Julie Andrews