The Ups and Downs of Dealing With Early Admissions Results

Early Admissions Results

The Ups and Downs of Dealing With Early Admissions Results

Published December 13, 2019 | Last Updated October 4th, 2023 at 01:35 pm

Early Admissions Results

Dear Parents of High School Seniors,

We urge you to read this note about your children’s college decisions. It is long, but it is important.

For many students and families in the coming months, college decisions will cause many emotions.

They are the culmination of years of hard work, commitment, and energy. 

Here are a few things to remember as parents…

How to Handle an Acceptance

Never take any college acceptance for granted. One person’s “safety” is another person’s “reach.” An acceptance is a testament to your student’s accomplishments.

Do not tolerate any indifference towards any acceptance. Every acceptance is a reason for gratitude and celebration.

An acceptance from your dream school does not make your student suddenly better than their peers who were deferred or denied.

Admissions officers have an unenviable task.

Many at the top institutions will say that they reject hundreds or thousands of perfectly qualified and deserving applicants every year.

That means that peers who are deferred or denied are not undeserving; it does not mean they did anything wrong. It simply means that they will not be attending that college next fall – but surely they will be attending another fantastic institution.

So celebrate, but do not gloat.

Be proud, but not vain.

Be thoughtful when posting on social media.

Your students have all achieved something special. It is now their responsibility to use their education to do something meaningful in the world.

How to Handle Being Deferred

A “defer” – which is an increasingly popular decision in recent years – is not an inevitable rejection.

It is incredibly frustrating, prolonging the waiting, but students should not feel discouraged to receive a “defer”.

In fact, they should feel pretty good. It means they are deserving, but the college wants to evaluate its options in the regular decision pool.

  • If your child is deferred, there are a few steps that your student should take beyond any instructions the college provides.
    Write a letter to their regional admissions officer. Thank them for their continued consideration of your application. Reiterate that their school is your first choice college and you would attend if accepted. Update them on any recent significant achievements in and out of the classroom.
  • Have your guidance counselor advocate for you. Speak with them about reaching out to the college to fight for you.

Decisions on deferred students will most likely not be made until the same time as regular decision notifications are released. Now is the time to submit any remaining college applications that your student has not already finalized.

If your student has an absolutely clear-cut second choice school, now would be the time to consider Early Decision II, which is offered at numerous universities

Bad News Is Not Personal

If the news is not good, we know it is painful to watch your child deal with disappointment. For many, a “deny” shatters confidence.

This is not a time to be angry. Let your child process their emotions. Remind them it’s not personal. It’s competitive. It’s tough. And most importantly, no matter where they go to college, if they work hard and stay true to themselves, they will find happiness and success.

Pick the “Best Fit” College for Your Child (and Family)

Not everyone is applying early decision.

Some students will receive the majority of their Early Action and Rolling decision notifications by the end of 2023.

All regular decision notifications will be released by April 1st.

It is a lot different revisiting a school as an accepted student. There is a fresh mentality – and sometimes honors colleges and merit money.

The highest ranked school where your child is accepted may be the perfect fit for them. It also may not.

Urge your child to think about where they will thrive the most academically, personally, and socially.

Your child’s happiness is so important as they transition into college. They are not just choosing a school for the next four years – they are choosing a home.

Once Your Student Picks a College, Let Other Colleges Know

Once your student makes their decision on where to go, have them contact the other colleges where they received acceptances and inform them of their decision.

It is not fair to other students to hold a spot because others may have been deferred.

Also remember that your student has until May 1st  (and sometimes even later!) to make a final decision.

Do not feel pressured to make a decision before that deadline if they are not ready.


Use R2C Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

Other Articles You Might Like:

Navigating College Deferrals: Understanding and Turning Them Into Acceptance

Waitlisted or Deferred? Your Guide on What to Do Next

How to Get Into Highly Rejective Colleges




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