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Understand Your Decision Letters

Information adapted from adMISSION POSSIBLE®.

There are more than just acceptance and rejection letters. You need to understand what the other types of decision letters mean and what you can do in each situation.

Early Admission Deferral

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.

Regular 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.

Not Accepted Anywhere

This is rare, but it can happen. You still have some options if you were not accepted to any college.

Appealing a Rejection

Understand when it's appropriate to appeal a college rejection and the possible outcomes.