Information adapted from adMISSION POSSIBLE®.
It may seem like all your work is done once you finish applying to colleges, but the college admissions process isn't over yet. You still have decision letters and financial aid award letters to receive and evaluate. Plus you'll need to spend some time deciding which college you will attend and make down payments once you've made your choice.
You may think that there are only two types of decision letters—acceptance and rejection—but you can also be waitlisted, deferred from early admissions, and deferred from regular admissions.
An early admission deferral means that a college has decided to postpone your admission decision until the regular admission cycle. It's both good and bad news—you haven't been rejected, but you haven't been accepted either. You can do a little work to try to secure an acceptance if you receive an early admission deferral.
A regular admission deferral is like a delayed acceptance. Sometimes deferred students can enroll during second semester of freshman year. Other times schools will defer students until sophomore year.
This is a list of students to whom admittance might be offered if fewer students than predicted say yes to their admissions offers. It's like saying, "You're not admitted right now, maybe in a little while." The number of students that a given college admits from the waitlist can vary dramatically from year to year. If you get waitlisted at one of your top choice colleges, there are some things you can do to try to get off the waitlist.