You Were Accepted to College Early! Here’s What to Do Next
Congratulations! You were accepted to your early decision or early action college. But what do you need to do next? There are a number of things to consider moving forward, so it’s important for students to weigh all their options before accepting an early offer of admission.
If You Were Accepted to an Early Action or Restrictive Early Action Program
For students who applied early action, there are actually a number of options to consider. Because an early action decision is not binding, meaning you don’t have to attend if accepted, students have the option to accept the offer or continue to pursue admission at other colleges through their regular or rolling admission programs.
If you want to attend…
- Accept the offer of admission! Most early action colleges will give students until May 1 to accept the offer of admission, however, if it is your top-choice college and you don’t want to apply anywhere else, go ahead and secure your spot.
- Withdraw all other applications. If you accept the offer of admission, you’ll need to withdraw your other applications. How do you do this? We advise students to email the colleges, either the main admissions office email or admissions representative for their area, and include their full name, high school, and reason for withdrawing. Students can also call the admissions office, but an email will give students a record of their request to withdraw. Be professional, courteous, and honest.
- Continue to focus on senior year. Getting in early and accepting the offer can be a big load off your shoulders, but there’s still a whole other semester to go through! Remember, colleges will request to see your second-semester grades, and if there’s a significant drop in your performance colleges can (and have) rescinded acceptances or placed students on a probationary plan.
If you’re not ready to accept…
- Hold off on giving the college your decision. You don’t have to respond to the offer just yet, so take some time to think about it. Consider your college goals and what’s going to be the best decision for you. Should you pursue other colleges that you’d be just as happy to attend? Are you having second thoughts? Discuss your feelings with your family and your college counselor and come up with a plan moving forward.
- Continue to work on your regular decision applications. With regular decision deadlines of Jan. 1, you’ll need to make sure all your other applications are done and ready to go. Be sure the remaining schools on your college list are a good mix of reach, target, and likely institutions. Complete all of your applications ahead of the deadline, and seek help from your school-based counselor or an independent consultant if you need additional guidance as you complete your remaining applications.
If You Were Accepted to an Early Decision Program
If you were accepted to an early decision program, it’s important to remember that the decision is binding – you signed an agreement that you will attend if accepted. Here’s what to do next.
- Withdraw all other applications. Since the decision is binding, you will need to withdraw any other regular decision applications you may have submitted. You will do this the same way explained above: Email the colleges, either the main admissions office email or admissions representative for their area, and include your full name, high school, and a brief note explaining that you were accepted early decision to a binding program and you will be attending that school. You can also call the admissions office, but an email will provide a record of your request to withdraw. Be professional, courteous, and honest.
- Discuss financial aid. For many students, an early decision acceptance can come with some unfavorable news, like not enough financial aid. If that is the case, contact the financial aid office to see if you can negotiate a better financial aid package. If you’re unable to secure a better financial aid award and the cost is still too much of a burden, you might have a case for release from your early decision agreement. Make sure to consult with your college counselor before making such a big decision.
Getting accepted early to your top-choice college is exciting, but it’s not the end of your admissions journey! Make sure you’re evaluating all your options and taking the proper steps to ensure you’re attending the college that’s the best financial, social, and academic fit.