When Will You Hear Back from Schools About Your College Applications?

If you’ve applied to colleges, you may be asking yourself, “When do college acceptance letters arrive?” It’s a valid question, and no doubt one loaded with a bit of anxiety. When you’ll hear back from the school though depends on when you applied: Early Action, Early Decision, Early Decision II, or Regular Decision.


When Did You Apply?

Early Decision or Early Action

Early Decision and Early Action applications are often due in November. Almost all colleges will let you know their decision by December 15th. That said, some colleges may not let you know until February if you applied under Early Action.

If you were wait listed, it may be a few weeks or months before you hear back. But note: if you were wait listed and applied under Early Decision, you are free to apply to other colleges, even under Early Decision II.

Early Decision II

Not all schools offer Early Decision II, but those that do tend to have a January 1st deadline – the same date as regular decisions. However, you will probably hear back sooner than those students who applied under regular decision. You can expect to receive a decision by mid-February.

Regular Decision

Regular decision applications are generally due by January 1st or in early to mid-January. You can expect to hear back from these colleges or universities in either March or April.

When Do You Have to Reply with Your Decision if Accepted?

As with application responses, when you have to reply with your decision depends on how you applied.

Early Decision or Early Decision II

Whether you applied under the first Early Decision or the second, you are required to attend that college the following fall. The application is a binding contract. You should read all the appropriate materials the college sent you. This will give you clear instructions on how to submit your deposit and any additional information the college needs. The due date for the deposit and additional details they may need depends on the college.

You should also immediately withdraw any other applications to colleges.

Early Action and Regular Decision

Both Early Action and Regular Decision applicants who are accepted to colleges need to submit a decision by May 1st, which is known as College Decision Day. This gap gives you plenty of time to review your options, finances, and more. However, you can let them know your decision before this date if you are sure of the school you’d like to attend. Once you accept a college or university, they will send along information on selecting your classes, orientation, choosing a dorm, and more.

Waiting to hear back from a college if you have been accepted can indeed be stressful. Knowing when to keep an eye out, however, can help you cut down on the anxiety. Some schools will send a letter, but other colleges may use an online portal that makes it easy to track your application’s progress. You could even know the outcome a bit sooner by taking advantage of the online tools!

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