THE BLOG

Admitted, Denied or Waitlisted? Here's What to Do Next

04/01/2014 12:21 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2014

It's a big week for those of you who have applied to college. No doubt apprehension and excitement are looming as you look online or in mailboxes for admission decisions. Regardless of the decision you receive, there are things that you will need to do.

Below are some helpful tips:

Admitted Students: First of all, Congratulations! Take a deep breath and relax! If are an accepted student, you have until the May 1st deadline to inform colleges whether you will attend. If you are certain you will attend, do notify that college and withdraw your applications to any other colleges. Once you receive all admission decisions, you can weigh the pros and cons of each, evaluate any financial aid awards and make your final choice.

Wait-listed Students: There are some things you should do if a college has wait-listed you, and that college remains a first choice school. Make sure you update the admissions office with new information. This could include additional resume items, latest test scores, recent awards or acknowledgements and any new developments in your life since you applied. Make sure you let the college know you are still interested in attending by sending an email or letter by postage. You may also be able to send a recent essay or art supplement and request an interview providing the college allows it. Some colleges permit one new and additional recommendation to be sent as well. Send them a copy of your most recent transcript. Make sure the college keeps your name on the wait list until the end of summer. If you decide to attend another college, notify the wait-list college, as it will open a spot for another student. Try to learn who your regional representative is and contact them. Chances are, they have already read your application and could be a potential advocate. It is okay to contact your rep every few weeks to confirm your continued interest in gaining acceptance. You may also notify them with any new activities or honors. If you have been wait-listed at more than one school, you can follow up on more than one wait list. After all, you may be interested in more than one college. If you initially checked that you needed financial aid, but now don't, then let the college know (or have parents call the financial aid office) if you are a full-pay student. Remain proactive and notify the college each month that you are still interested in attending. This may be especially true after May 1st when first deposits are due. Colleges need to know you have not decided to attend elsewhere. You should review carefully the colleges where you have gained acceptance, as you should get a deposit in by the May 1st deadline. However, understand that if you do get accepted off a wait list at your school of first choice, you may lose the deposit made at another institution. If you get in off the wait list, you may want to revisit the college before making a final decision. If the college where you are wait listed is your first choice, make sure you say so!

Students Denied Admission: Occasionally colleges do have an appeal process specific to that college where denied students can request a review of their materials. However, for the most part a denial is a final decision. If you are denied during the early plan, you cannot reapply during the regular decision period in the same year. It is difficult to accept denial but it is best to immediately focus on the other colleges where you did gain acceptance. So, drum up enthusiasm for the colleges where you did gain acceptance. Note that some colleges offer an Early Decision 2nd round that you could select if denied from your first ED selection.

Regarding Financial Aid: The individual college financial aid offices can specify how their institutions run their financial aid programs. Some colleges do not release their financial aid awards until early spring. If accepted to several colleges, you may be able to leverage financial aid offers from those institutions. Contact the individual financial aid offices.

Most important thing is to take action and have your plan in place prior to May 1st.