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The Acceptance Letter

You worked hard to hand in those applications. Then you waited and waited for what seems like a long time. You may be wondering what happens next.
By GPA Admin

The Acceptance Letter


If you have applied for admission for studies beginning in September, you will be hearing from the colleges any time between January and April.  As we have discussed in our article about deadlines, schools with different deadlines process applications differently.

Early Decision applications are read first and decisions are mailed out within a month or so. The idea is to let the students know soon so they can make the “early decision” to enroll. Remember that Early Decision admission is binding, which means you must attend the school to which you apply and are accepted on an Early Decision application.

Then there is Early Action, which is similar to Early Decision except it is not binding. Applying on an Early Action deadline means you will find out fairly soon whether you get in, but you are not required to accept the offer.

Applications submitted on a Regular Deadline are processed and students notified by March or April. Applications submitted on a rolling deadline are processed and students notified within four to six weeks.

How Schools Let You Know

In the old days – we mean the days before email! – there wasn’t any other way to find out whether you have been accepted to a college except waiting for that envelope to arrive in the mail. A big, fat envelope means you get in (as the school sends along materials related to housing, health insurance, etc. to those accepted). A thin, small envelope usually contains a rejection letter. U.S. students talk about the “fat envelope” all the time.  With email and Internet access available everywhere now, almost all schools inform students by email or via “status update” in the student’s online application account. There is no longer the excitement of getting the “fat envelope” but you do find out sooner in this electronic age.

Nonetheless, schools are still required to mail you an official acceptance letter. So keep an eye out for it at the mailing address you have submitted to them. The U.S. embassy will want to see this letter later when you apply for a student visa.

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