Early Decision Results: What's Next After You've Received Your Outcome?

Padya Paramita

Early Decision Results: What's Next After You've Received Your Outcome?

As December nearly comes to an end, all top schools have finished informing candidates about their early action and early decision results. If you’ve been accepted congratulations! If you’ve been deferred or denied, don’t lose hope. There’s still ways to go before the application season comes to an end. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this year see a more competitive applicant pool than ever at many national universities and liberal arts colleges. So, if your early decision results haven’t gone according to plan, do not lose hope. You can work through this!

Even if you’ve been admitted, there are steps you need to take. To help guide you through the next phases of the application process, we have outlined what you need to do for various early decision results: acceptance, deferral, and rejection. Go through the sections depending on your situation and consider what you need to do to ensure that the next four years help you get to a school that can help you pursue your interests.

Early Decision Outcomes

Whether you have been accepted, deferred, or denied, the logistical steps don’t end here. If your early decision result hasn’t gone how you’d hoped or you didn’t apply in an early round, you can take advantage of the data presented by the early action and early decision acceptance rates 2020-2021 to formulate your next game plan. Now that you have a picture of how selective different colleges are, it’s time to think about how to convey your best self throughout your application materials as you prepare for the early decision II or regular decision rounds. Let’s take a look at what to do depending on what your circumstance is:

If You’ve Been Denied (or You’re Just Applying to RD Schools)

Being denied from your dream college might feel rough. But don’t let the early decision results bring you down. If your current options only involve applying to colleges in the regular decision round, review and polish your personal statement thoroughly to ensure that it represents your story. You are also now free to apply to an early decision II college. If your ED I school offers ED II, you cannot reapply there in the same application cycle. Think about where you would still like to see yourself.

Furthermore, take a look at the early action and early decision acceptance rates from this year to decide whether your school list needs revisiting. You might want to add more safeties, or if a school appears to be a good fit for you that you hadn’t thought of before, you could consider adding it as a target school. Either way, create a timeline to keep yourself on track in order to have all of your materials ready. 

If You’ve Been Deferred

If you’ve been deferred from your top choice college, it means that the school will reconsider your application profile in the regular decision round. So, don’t lose hope! You’ve still got a shot. Make sure to craft a strong letter of continued interest emphasizing that the university is still your number one, as well as reiterating any recent accomplishments and grades that have been released since you submitted your Common Application profile in November. In the meantime, you could also consider an early decision II school if there is another college that you have had your eye on that you can see yourself committing too.

Meanwhile, now that the early decision acceptance rates are out, revisit your school list to decide whether there’s any college that might be tough given your current profile. Most importantly, don’t take acceptance at the school where you’ve been deferred for granted – while a small portion of deferred students do get admitted every year, the reality is that most are rejected in the RD round. So, keep applying to regular decision schools and make sure you’ve kept a good balance of reach, target, and safety options. 

If You’re Applying ED II

If you have been denied or deferred (or did not apply in the first set of early rounds) but there’s a college that you’ll be happy committing to that you haven’t applied to yet, work hard on an Early Decision II application. Take advantage of components like the supplemental essays to ensure that you’ve driven home your interest in the school. Plus, use this year’s data to get a sense of what the competition might look like. A lot of schools consider the commitment level equally as high for students. However, a lot of colleges may have already accepted a significant portion of their class sizes by the time regular decision rounds come along.

As a result, don’t consider yourself a shoo-in, no matter how great your chances might appear. Colleges have been unpredictable this cycle, especially with the pandemic going on. Schools may receive a lot of applications so you must prepare for any upcoming scenario. So, make sure that your regular decision applications are also ready to go. Don’t scramble to finish these at the last minute!

If You’ve Been Accepted EA or ED

If you’ve been admitted ED, congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment, especially given how competitive this cycle has been. You can now enjoy the rest of your senior year stress-free and focusing on your academics and extracurriculars. Withdraw any other EA applications or regular decision applications you had sent out there since you’re now committed!

If you were admitted in an EA or REA round, think about whether you’re set on attending that particular school or whether you still want to explore other regular decision options. If you’re leaning towards the latter, you could think about whether you want to make changes to your school list and reduce the number of safeties. Either way, you can relax a little bit knowing that you’re still going to college somewhere after the early action and early decision results

Now that you have gone through the various outcomes that can come from receiving your early decision results, you can hopefully figure out your next steps. Remember that you shouldn’t lose hope if the announcement has not gone your way. There are still ways to work hard on your application and ensure that you still get into a top school that is a strong fit for you. Good luck!

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