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What to Expect From Your College Acceptance Letter
Bryan Smith - October, 04 2022
About the author
Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad
What is in a letter of acceptance?
A college acceptance letter is a document that a college or university issues when you have applied and successfully secured admission to study a particular tertiary programme - whether that be a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
Today, most schools opt to issue these letters of acceptance in both hard and soft copy - meaning that you may well likely receive a digital letter before a physical copy arrives. Some colleges, instead, will rely on their own internal portal to issue updates on your application.
While college and university applications are typically a long process, securing your admission is usually only the first step in your study journey.
Your letter of admission will typically contain a confirmation of your admission and acceptance, but will also include next steps for you to follow. These can include helpful sign-in credentials for you to access an online profile, but these letters will most likely instead communicate details and deadlines around what tuition fees are payable as you approach your course’s start date.
A typical letter of acceptance may include:
- A confirmation of your admission
- Your course’s start date and physical location
- Admission or service fees payable
- Scholarship or bursary information
- Residence advice
What do colleges look for in a student?
While your academic record will likely be the first priority for a college admissions board to review, there are several other factors which colleges may look for in a student applicant.
These can include:
- Your academic record (as well as extracurricular activities)
- Course or degree-related work experience
- Standardised test scores
- Recommendations and letters of referral
- Your social media presence
- Your letters of motivation
- Supplementary information or submissions
How long does it take to get accepted into college?
While the turnaround time for a decision to be made on your application may vary from college to college, you will traditionally be able to expect a decision - and a letter of acceptance - to be issued on your application from four to eight weeks after you have successfully submitted your application.
When do colleges send acceptance letters?
The date when a particular college may send acceptance letters will largely depend on their location and the annual structure of their curriculum.
Generally, many colleges have rolling application periods that will offer a final deadline to submit, depending on whether students would begin classes in September or at the start of the year in January or February.
Typically, most colleges will issue acceptance letters either following the latest deadline, or may often fulfil an early-application window which will enable some students to register for admission up to a year in advance.
Can I use my acceptance letter for a scholarship?
While each scholarship process will depend on the benefactor in question, most scholarship programmes generally require applicants to submit an acceptance letter to ultimately begin or finalise their funding application.
While most scholarship programmes will require student applicants to submit at least notice of their application to a particular or supported college, others may require a proof of admission prior to finalising their decision on whether to issue a scholarship or not in the first instance.
Generally, it is a good idea to retain a receipt or proof of payment for your non-refundable deposit, as well as your letters of application or admission, when applying for a scholarship.
Can you commit to two colleges?
While it is theoretically possible to secure two admissions by putting down a financial deposit for both, doing so is considered unethical - particularly if you have applied for full-time programmes. Doing so can not only mean that you will ultimately forfeit your deposit for at least one of your applications, but would deprive another candidate of a space in the course that you do not plan to attend.
How many colleges can you apply to?
The most ethical approach is to apply to as many programmes as you are interested in, but ultimately only select one final college to which you will submit your non-refundable deposit and ultimately attend.
How many colleges should I apply for?
You can ultimately apply to as many colleges as you prefer, though it is in your best interest to make your decisions selectively given you may be required to pay a deposit for your application in advance.
When do you have to commit to a college?
You should ideally seek to commit to a college at least three months before your courses’ intended start date. For universities based in the United States, it is recommended that you commit to a college by at least May 1st.
How to respond to a college acceptance by email
If you’ve decided to confirm your acceptance to college - congratulations!
Your first step will need to be to issue any non-refundable deposits that are required to secure your application. You’ll want to retain your proof of payment or receipt to verify the transaction (if needed) in the future.
Some colleges may alternatively require you to issue your proof of payment or receipt alongside a special form (usually in PDF format) which confirms your attendance. Others, however, may require you to individually notify course convenors or your college’s administrative office by email with your receipt or proof of payment attached.
Responding by email can be useful, as it can not only demonstrate your intent to enrol but can further illustrate your communication skills and gratitude.
In your email, be sure to acknowledge your confirmation of acceptance, state your intention to enrol, and thank your recipient(s) for their time.
College email acceptance template example:
Subject: Confirmation of my attendance at [College Name]
I have recently received a letter of acceptance from [College Name], and I am thankful and most pleased to accept this offer of admission.
I have attached [relevant forms] as well as a [proof of payment/receipt] for [fees due].
I thank you sincerely for this opportunity and look forward to beginning my classes in due course.
Kind regards, [Your name]
How to decline a college acceptance
If you instead decide against securing your attendance at a particular college, it is etiquette to communicate your decision to a relevant admissions official or office to enable their department to allocate your provisional space to another candidate.
To do so, you may similarly be required to submit a form, or may simply need to express your intent via email.
You could use the below template to communicate your decision:
Subject: Declining my offer of attendance at [College Name]
I have recently received a letter of acceptance from [College name], and I am thankful for this offer of admission.
However, I unfortunately will need to decline this opportunity [in favour of another acceptance or for personal reasons]
I thank you sincerely for your efforts and time in reviewing my application and I wish both you and your department prosperity into the future.
What to do with your letter of acceptance?
Once you’ve successfully received your letter of acceptance and have responded to your college to secure your study spot, you will officially have secured your enrollment to progress your studies .
Your acceptance letter from a university can also be used for a variety of other purposes to assist your study journey. You may be able to use it as a reference to join various student societies or interest organisations aligned to your study subject, or alternatively use it to apply or secure a scholarship or student loan.
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College | April 5, 2023 | Ashley Boucher
College acceptance letters: What to expect & how to respond
What you’ll learn.
- What’s included in a college acceptance letter
- When colleges send an acceptance letter
How to respond to a college acceptance letter
- What to do after you receive your college acceptance letter
Whether it’s that much anticipated email or a thick envelope in the mailbox, college acceptance letters can come in many ways and represent a pivotal moment for high school students. Here’s what you can expect from the letters and how to respond to them.
“Congratulations! I’m pleased to inform you that you’ve been admitted to…”
No words could be sweeter if you’re a high school senior looking for confirmation that you’ve been accepted into college. College acceptance letters can represent the moment that many high school students have been working toward, figuring out your next chapter in education and beyond.
When springtime of senior year rolls around, you can expect to start hearing some rumblings in the hallways. “Macy got her acceptance letter, so did Trevor. Alannah heard back from all four of her schools. Is mine LOST? Does this mean I didn’t get in?!” Nerves can take over, leading you to your mailbox every day after school or constantly refreshing your inbox. The anticipation is completely normal, but it doesn’t make the waiting game any easier.
Whether you’ve applied to one school, or ten, chances are you’ll soon be presented with a decision from a college or university that holds the key to your future! When that day finally comes, here’s what you can expect from acceptance letters, and how to respond to them.
What is a college acceptance letter and what does it include?
College acceptance letters, although varied from school to school, follow a pretty predictable format.
First, an acceptance letter will make it clear if you’ve been admitted or not. If you see the congratulatory message you want, let that sink in! You’ve worked hard and it’s been recognized. If you are seeing a rejection, know you’re not alone—and this isn’t the end of the road. Did you know Tina Fey was rejected from Princeton, Tom Hanks got a ‘no thanks’ from several colleges, and Steven Spielberg was reportedly rejected from UCLA?
If you’ve been accepted to college, you’ll see some information about upcoming events for prospective students—these are to help get you familiar with the campus and opportunities that the school can provide, and you should look at this as your chance to decide if the school is really the best fit for you. (Take advantage of these types of events: you may have been accepted to several schools, so now is the time to be extra clear about your wants, needs, and which school fits those best.)
Finally, you’ll want to make note of any deadlines included in your acceptance letter. Usually, the school will tell you the deadline to make your decision. This date is pretty universal, and typically falls on or around May 1, because you would have heard back from all of the schools you’ve applied to by then.
When are the letters sent out to accepted students?
If you’re wondering when acceptance letters arrive, know that it can vary a little bit based on the schools and when you applied. There’s also a little bit of variation in how decisions are conveyed: you can expect many colleges to send acceptance letters by email or online portal, though some will still send a formal letter in your mailbox, too.
- Early decision: If you applied for early action or early decision to your dream school, it’s likely that you sent in your application earlier than you would have otherwise, typically by November. Your conviction and commitment to the school will be rewarded by an early decision (hence the name), and you should expect to hear back in the winter months: December, January, or February.
- Regular decision: If you’ve applied to multiple schools and are unsure of which you want to attend, you probably submitted your application for regular decision, usually by February. In this case, you should expect to see letters come in through mid-March to early April. You should expect to hear back from schools by the first week of April. Why? Because of the May 1 timeline that colleges and universities rely on.
If you’re waitlisted : If this happens, you may not receive final word until the school has more insight on just how many admitted students will accept their invitation to attend and register for classes. That means you can find out as late as August. If you’re going to keep a school that has waitlisted you on your list of potential destinations, be sure to have a backup plan (whether it’s a gap semester or year, a short stint at your local community college first, etc.).
Your next steps may hinge on whether or not you’ve applied (and been accepted to) more than one school. Let’s assume you have a few options.
- Stay organized. Now may be a good time, if you haven’t done so already, to create a spreadsheet of the schools you’re still considering. You’ll want to include the decision deadline noted in your acceptance letter—don’t lose track of this! The last thing you want to do is miss an opportunity to attend your dream school just because you couldn’t remember when you needed to notify them you intend to register (and submit your deposit; more on that below). Use your spreadsheet to keep track of information on housing, meal plans, etc.
- Compare offers and costs. This is also the time to keep track of the details of your financial aid offers (which will arrive separately). These are particularly important if you’re not sure which college to attend. One school, for example, may offer you a large financial aid package, while another may have little to give you. The offers will contain the same information but there’s no standard format, so you’ll need to compare them . Use the figures you get from the offers to see how much of the cost of attendance you’ll have to supply through student loans or other methods—this can also help you choose between your various options.
- Give the school your answer. Once your college acceptance letters are in and you’ve decided which college or university to attend, it’s time to respond to your school of choice. You can usually do this by filling out a form and sending it to the college along with a non-refundable deposit. This deposit (which can typically range from $50-$500) is used to secure your spot in the incoming class of students. It’s important to note those deadlines and make sure to send the deposit before the deadline hits, so you don’t lose your spot.
This is also the time to let the other schools know that you don’t intend to enroll. Again, this can be done with the form given to you as part of acceptance letter packet. You should aim to do this by May 1.
Next steps after you accept
So, you’ve taken the next step in your journey and enrolled in college – congratulations! Now what?
You have a few key things to remember:
- Whatever you’ve been doing to get into college, keep it up! Colleges can rescind their offers, so this isn’t the time to slack off. Use this time to continue studying (maybe you have some AP tests that you can take to save money on future college courses), look for summer internships in a field you think you might want to study or a summer job so you can save money. Or you can just enjoy the last few months you have with your high school friends before you’re off to your next chapter!
- Be sure to keep your social media profiles free of any content that would portray you in a negative or inappropriate light. They’re an extension of your transcripts and resumes. Don’t do anything that would embarrass you, your family, or your future college and classmates.
- Your college is chosen, but there’s a lot of planning that still needs to take place. For example, how are you planning to pay for college?
Remember those financial aid offers I mentioned? Those are really important, and now that you’ve chosen your college, go back and review the one from your school. It will list what types of financial aid you qualify for, and can include federal loans , scholarships , grants , and work-study . You’ll need to formally accept part or all of your financial aid offer (or none of it, if you choose), so be sure to do that in the timeline indicated by the school.
If you haven’t already, start your scholarship search now. Contrary to popular belief, scholarships aren’t just for valedictorians and quarterbacks; there are opportunities for everyone! Are you left-handed? There’s a scholarship for that. Love to bake? Yup. An expert asparagus grower? Absolutely! Scholly by Sallie,* the top college scholarship app, has helped students find millions of dollars in scholarships. Best part? It’s free and super easy to use. Simply tell Scholly Search® about your interests, background, and accomplishments and you can get matched with scholarships in just minutes.
After you’ve nailed down scholarships and accepted parts of your financial aid offer, you’ll have a better idea of how much of your college costs (tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, etc.) are covered by the funds you’ve outlined. If there’s a gap, you have a few choices to consider, including using some of your savings or income, or taking out a private student loan . Helpful hint: don’t take out more in student loans than what you expect your starting salary in your desired profession to be.
Congratulations! You’re going to college!
The process of researching, applying, accepting, and paying for college isn’t fast or easy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember to pause, celebrate, and keep your eye focused on your future. You’ve done the tricky part and now it’s time to show the college why they were smart to accept you!
Your biggest financial aid offer questions answered
A guide to federal vs. private student loans
A guide to finding and winning scholarships
footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances.
footnote External links and third-party references are provided for informational purposes only. Sallie Mae cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by any third parties and assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained therein. Any copyrights, trademarks, and/or service marks used in these materials are the property of their respective owners.
footnote SLM Nitro College, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of SLM Corporation and Nitro by Sallie Mae is a service mark of Sallie Mae Bank. SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae Bank and SLM Nitro College, LLC are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States.
How to Write an Acceptance Letter for College (7 Examples)
As a high school senior, one of the most exciting moments is receiving an acceptance letter from your dream college.
It is a moment filled with joy, anticipation, and validation for all your hard work. But what comes next? You must let the college know that you are accepting their offer.
That’s where the acceptance letter comes in.
Here’s how to write an acceptance letter for college:
To write an admissions acceptance letter, express gratitude, confirm intent to enroll, and show excitement. Follow the college’s instructions, and be professional, positive, and respectful. For a deferral/waitlist letter, respond promptly and express continued interest.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about writing an acceptance letter for college, including examples, templates, and a complete step-by-step guide.
What Is An Acceptance Letter for College?
An acceptance letter for college is a formal letter that a student writes to the college to accept their admission offer.
It is an official document that serves as a confirmation of enrollment and marks the beginning of the college journey for the student.
The acceptance letter is usually sent to the admissions office of the college either through email or traditional mail.
It is essential to ensure that the letter is professional, clear, and concise as it reflects the student’s attitude and level of professionalism.
How To Write an Admissions Acceptance Letter (11 Steps)
Writing an acceptance letter for college can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.
Here are 11 steps to help you write a compelling and effective acceptance letter:
Step 1: Understand the Purpose of the Letter
Before you start writing your acceptance letter, it is important to understand its purpose.
The letter serves as a formal confirmation of your acceptance of the college’s admission offer. It is a way of letting the college know that you have decided to attend their institution and marks the beginning of your journey as a college student.
Step 2: Use a Professional Tone
Your acceptance letter should reflect your level of professionalism.
It is important to use a professional tone and avoid using slang or informal language.
Keep your language formal and respectful. This shows the admissions committee that you are serious about your studies and that you take the opportunity to attend their institution seriously.
Step 3: Begin With a Grateful Introduction
Start your letter by expressing your gratitude to the admissions committee for considering your application and extending the offer to you.
This shows that you appreciate the time and effort they put into reviewing your application and selecting you as a candidate for admission.
Simply saying “thank you”
Step 4: Accept the Admission Offer
Clearly state that you are accepting the college’s admission offer.
Include the details of the offer, such as the start date of the semester, your major, and any other relevant details.
This demonstrates that you have carefully read and understood the offer and that you are committed to attending the college.
Step 5: Provide Additional Information
Include any additional information that the college may need from you, such as transcripts or test scores.
You should also confirm that you have fulfilled all the admission requirements.
This shows that you are organized and responsible and that you are willing to provide the college with any necessary information to ensure a smooth enrollment process.
Step 6: Confirm Your Enrollment
Confirm your intention to enroll in the college by stating that you have made the necessary arrangements to attend.
You may also want to mention any financial aid or scholarship awards you have received.
This demonstrates that you are committed to attending the college and that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure your enrollment.
Step 7: Express Excitement
Express your excitement about attending college.
Tell the admissions committee how thrilled you are to be joining their community and how you plan to contribute to the college’s community.
This shows that you are enthusiastic about attending the college and that you are excited to become a part of the college’s community.
Step 8: End on a Positive Note
End your letter on a positive note.
Thank the admissions committee again for their time and consideration. You should also include your contact information in case they need to reach out to you.
This leaves a positive impression on the admissions committee and shows that you are approachable and willing to answer any questions they may have.
Step 9: Proofread and Edit
Before sending your acceptance letter, it is important to proofread and edit it.
Make sure that there are no grammar or spelling errors. You should also double-check that you have included all the necessary details.
This ensures that your acceptance letter is clear, concise, and professional.
Step 10: Send Your Letter
Send your acceptance letter to the college through the preferred method.
This could be through email or traditional mail. Make sure that you follow the college’s instructions for submitting your acceptance letter.
This ensures that your acceptance letter is received in a timely manner.
Step 11: Follow Up
Follow up with the admissions office to confirm that they have received your acceptance letter.
You can do this by email or phone. This ensures that there are no issues with your acceptance and that the admissions office
Here is a good video about how to write an acceptance letter for college:
How to Accept an Acceptance Letter from a College
What Is Not Included in an Admissions Acceptance Letter?
When writing your acceptance letter, there are certain things that you should avoid including.
These include any negotiation or discussion of financial aid or scholarships. While it is important to confirm any scholarships or financial aid that you have been awarded, it is not appropriate to use the acceptance letter as a bargaining tool.
It is also important to avoid making any demands or requests of the college in your acceptance letter.
This could give the impression that you are not committed to attending college or that you are not willing to follow their rules and policies.
“This, Not That” Chart of What To Put in an Admission Acceptance Letter
This chart summarizes the key elements to include and avoid in your acceptance letter.
Remember to keep your acceptance letter professional, clear, and concise.
Admissions Acceptance Letter Templates
If you’re struggling to write your acceptance letter, don’t worry.
Here are two acceptance letter templates that you can use as a guide. After the templates, you’ll find 7 creative full examples.
Template 1: Formal Acceptance Letter
[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State Zip Code] [Date]
[Admissions Office] [College Name] [College Address] [City, State Zip Code]
Dear [Admissions Committee],
I am writing to formally accept the admission offer to [College Name]. Thank you for considering my application and selecting me as a candidate for admission.
I am thrilled to accept the offer and am eagerly anticipating my attendance at [College Name] in the [semester name/year]. I have made the necessary arrangements to enroll, and I confirm my intention to attend.
Please find attached any additional information you may need, including my transcripts and test scores. Feel free to contact me if you have any additional inquiries or concerns.
It is an honor to have the opportunity to enroll at [College Name]. I am thrilled to be joining your community and look forward to contributing to the college’s community.
Template 2: Informal Acceptance Email
Subject: Acceptance of Admission Offer
I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude and excitement for the admission offer to [College Name]. I am delighted to accept the offer and eagerly anticipate embarking on my academic journey at [College Name] in the [semester name/year].
I have made the necessary arrangements to enroll and confirm my intention to attend. If there is any further information required from me, please do not hesitate to ask.I appreciate this opportunity to attend [College Name] and express my gratitude once again.
Thank you again for the opportunity to attend [College Name]. I can’t wait to be a part of your community and contribute to the college’s culture.
Admissions Acceptance Letter (7 Unique and Creative Examples)
While it is important to keep your acceptance letter professional and respectful, you can still showcase your personality and creativity.
Here are seven unique and creative acceptance letters to help you learn how to write an acceptance letter for college.
1. Full Acceptance Letter – Formal Tone
Dear Admissions Committee,
I am thrilled to formally accept your offer of admission to [College Name] for the upcoming academic year. I am honored to have been selected as a candidate for admission, and I appreciate the time and effort that you have invested in my application.
I confirm my intent to enroll in [College Name] for the upcoming academic year. I have made the necessary arrangements to secure my place in the incoming class, and I will be sure to complete all the necessary enrollment procedures as soon as possible.
I would like to express my gratitude for this opportunity and my excitement to join the [College Name] community. I look forward to beginning my studies and contributing to the intellectual and social atmosphere of the campus.
Once again, thank you for this incredible opportunity, and I look forward to becoming a member of the [College Name] community.
2. Full Acceptance Letter – Creative Tone
Holy cow, I can’t believe it! I’ve been accepted into [College Name]! I am thrilled to be part of the incoming class for the upcoming academic year.
I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to attend [College Name]. I am excited to become a member of your community, and I am looking forward to contributing to the dynamic and lively atmosphere of the campus.
I have already started making preparations for the fall semester and will be sure to complete all the necessary enrollment procedures promptly. I understand that this is an exciting time for both me and [College Name], and I am committed to making the most of my time at [College Name].
If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to reach out to me.
3. Acceptance Letter – Continued Interest
I am writing to thank you for the offer of admission to [College Name]. I am delighted to have been accepted and am grateful for the opportunity to attend such a fantastic institution.
At this time, however, I would like to defer my enrollment to the following academic year. This decision was not an easy one, but I have decided to take a gap year to gain valuable experience that I believe will contribute positively to my future academic and career pursuits.
I would like to express my continued interest in [College Name]. I have no doubt that the experiences I gained during my gap year will serve me well when I enroll at [College Name] in the future.
Thank you again for your time and attention throughout the admission process. I look forward to keeping in touch and updating you on my experiences during my gap year.
4. Acceptance Letter – Continued Interest
I am thrilled to
accept your offer of admission to [College Name] for the upcoming academic year. I am honored to have been selected as a candidate for admission, and I appreciate the time and effort that you have invested in my application.
I am writing to express my continued interest in [College Name]. As a passionate learner, I am eager to take advantage of all the opportunities available at your institution. I look forward to the academic rigor and intellectual diversity that [College Name] has to offer.
I have already started making preparations for the upcoming academic year and will be sure to complete all the necessary enrollment procedures promptly.
Once again, thank you for this incredible opportunity, and I look forward to contributing to the academic and social life of [College Name].
5. Acceptance Letter – Continued Interest
Thank you for the offer of admission to [College Name]. I am excited to accept your offer and join the incoming class for the upcoming academic year.
I am writing to express my continued interest in [College Name]. As a highly motivated student, I am eager to immerse myself in the academic and social life of your institution. I look forward to the opportunity to engage with your faculty and peers, gain new insights, and broaden my perspective.
If there is any further information you need, feel free to ask, and I will gladly provide it.
6. Deferral Response Letter
Thank you for the offer of admission to [College Name]. I am honored to have been selected as a candidate for admission, and I appreciate the time and effort that you have invested in my application.
At this time, however, I would like to request a deferral of my enrollment to the following academic year. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I am unable to enroll in the upcoming academic year.
I would like to express my continued interest in [College Name]. I am committed to attending your institution and look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the academic and social life of the campus.
If there is any further information that you need, please do not hesitate to ask. I am more than willing to provide any additional details that may be helpful. Thank you again for your time and attention throughout the admission process.
7. Full Acceptance Letter – Formal Tone
I am writing to formally accept your offer of admission to [College Name] for the upcoming academic year. I am thrilled to be a part of the incoming class and to join such a prestigious and well-respected institution.
However, I would like to request a deferral of my enrollment to the following academic year. I have been offered a unique opportunity to travel abroad and engage in an academic program that aligns with my academic and career goals. I believe that this experience will enhance my academic and personal growth, and I am eager to pursue this opportunity before beginning my studies at [College Name].
I would like to express my gratitude for this incredible opportunity to attend [College Name]. I understand that a deferral may create challenges for the admissions office, and I appreciate your understanding and support in this matter.
I confirm my intention to enroll in [College Name] for the following academic year. I will complete all the necessary enrollment procedures as soon as possible.
Please let me know if there are any further steps that I should take to defer my enrollment. I look forward to being a part of the [College Name] community and contributing to the academic and social life of the campus.
Thank you again for your time and attention throughout the admission process.
FAQs: Official Admissions Acceptance Letter
Before we end this guide, let’s go over some lingering questions you might still have about how to write an admissions acceptance letter.
Should I Send an Acceptance Letter if I Already Accepted the Offer Online?
Yes, you should still send a formal acceptance letter either by email or mail.
It shows that you are taking the offer seriously and that you are committed to attending the college.
In addition, an acceptance letter serves as a written record of your acceptance and can be helpful for any future reference or questions that may arise.
Be sure to follow any instructions provided by the college regarding how to accept the offer, and include any necessary documents or information requested.
How Long Should My Acceptance Letter Be?
Your acceptance letter should be concise and to the point.
It can be one to two paragraphs long.
You want to express your gratitude for the offer of admission, confirm your intent to enroll, and express your excitement for the opportunity to become a part of the academic and social life of the college.
Be sure to keep the tone professional and positive, and avoid including any unnecessary information or requests.
Can I Negotiate My Financial Aid or Scholarship Offer in My Acceptance Letter?
No, you should not use your acceptance letter to negotiate your financial aid or scholarship offer.
This is not appropriate and can give the impression that you are not committed to attending college. If you need clarification or have doubts about your financial aid package, it’s advisable to reach out to the financial aid office for assistance.
They may be able to offer additional resources or help you find alternative funding sources.
What Should I Do if I Receive a Deferral or Waitlist Response?
If you receive a deferral or waitlist response, it’s important to respond promptly and express your continued interest in the college.
Let the admissions committee know that you are committed to attending if a spot becomes available.
If you have any new information or updates to your application, such as improved test scores or additional achievements, you can include them in your response.
Keep in mind that deferrals and waitlist responses can be disappointing, but they are not necessarily a rejection.
Continue to stay engaged with the college and maintain a positive attitude.
What Should I Include in a Continued Interest Letter?
A continued interest letter should express your continued interest in the college and provide any additional information that may strengthen your application.
This letter should be concise, respectful, and professional.
You can start by thanking the admissions committee for considering your application and expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to apply.
Next, you should express your continued interest in the college and highlight any new achievements or developments since you submitted your application.
You can also share any additional information that you believe may be helpful to the admissions committee.
Consider sharing updates to your test scores or a new award or achievement.
Be sure to keep the tone positive and respectful, and avoid any demands or requests.
What Should I Include in a Deferral Response Letter?
If you receive a deferral response, your deferral response letter should be respectful and professional.
You should thank the admissions committee for considering your application and expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to apply.
Next, you should express your continued interest in the college and provide any additional information that may strengthen your application. This could include updates to your academic achievements, additional accomplishments, or relevant work or volunteer experience.
Additionally, you should express your willingness to wait and to be reconsidered in the future if spots become available.
Remember that the tone of the letter is important, and you should avoid sounding entitled or demanding.
Be gracious and respectful, and you will make a positive impression on the admissions committee.
Final Thoughts: How to Write an Acceptance Letter for College
This is such an exciting time in your life.
And, believe it or not, you’ll experience some of the best moments and make some of the most lasting memories over the next few years. In all your joy, don’t forget to soak in the present.
Don’t rush this period of your life. Embrace it.
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Dear Dr. Watson,
I am writing to accept your offer to enroll in the undergraduate Biology program and attend your university in the fall. I look forward to beginning my studies at your university with great anticipation and am thrilled to be writing this acceptance letter. I very much appreciated your attention and consideration during the admissions process. It was more than helpful.
Please find all of the necessary forms and paperwork you requested, including the enrollment form attached to this letter. I am more than happy to provide you with any additional information or documentation should you find it lacking. Please do feel free to contact me through email phone or post.
Again I thank you for your time and cannot wait to begin my studies at your university in the fall.
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How to Respond to an Acceptance Email in 9 Simple Steps
By: Author Marcel Iseli
Posted on Last updated: April 10, 2023
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Once you have applied to the colleges or graduate programs that you are interested in, there is nothing to do but wait to see whether you get admitted.
You may find yourself refreshing your browser repeatedly, hoping the name of your first-choice college will pop up in your email inbox.
No matter how long you’ve been waiting to hear back from a college or university, you may still find that when you finally receive an acceptance email, you aren’t quite sure what to say in response.
Responding to an acceptance email from the admissions department of a higher education institution requires a high level of formality and should follow a specific template.
Read on for some helpful tips and several sample responses for how respond to college acceptance emails in a variety of situations.
How to respond to an acceptance email (College, University, etc.)
- Respond by return email
- Use an appropriate salutation
- Thank the admissions department for the opportunity
- Accept the offer
- Name the specific degree program you will be enrolling in
- Answer any questions in the acceptance email
- Ask any questions you have about the enrollment process
- Use an appropriate closing
- Sign off using your full name
1. Respond by return email
While many people still associate formal matters with written communication instead of email communication, there is no need to respond to an acceptance email by sending a formal letter in the post.
And in fact, you don’t even need to create a new email thread.
Instead, just do what most colleges prefer you to and reply by email in the same thread.
2. Use an appropriate salutation
Using an appropriate salutation when you respond to an acceptance email is very important.
It is the first thing the admissions department that has accepted you will read, and you want to make a good impression by showing that you have the communication skills required to excel as a college student.
In the case of an email accepting an offer to study at a college, the appropriate salutation is usually either “Dear Admissions Department,” or else “Dear [Title Surname]” if the offer was signed by a specific admissions officer.
3. Thank the admissions department for the opportunity
The first line of an email responding to an acceptance email should thank the admissions department, the specific admissions officer whom you are corresponding with, or your future academic supervisor for the opportunity to study at the university in question.
After all, not everyone gets accepted to college, and the one you have just been welcomed to study at has surely rejected plenty of applicants.
Thanking the person you are writing to for choosing to extend you an offer of enrollment shows that you are aware that education is a privilege and that you don’t take it for granted.
4. Say whether you accept the offer
If you are writing to accept an offer of enrollment at a university, make sure you clearly state that you accept the offer of a place at the relevant institution.
Don’t simply say, “Thank you for the offer” while failing to positively confirm that you will be attending the university at the beginning of the next academic year.
If you do this, the admissions department will need to follow up the matter with you, which may be frustrating for them since it requires more email back-and-forth than was necessary.
In some cases, the university may even take your non-committal response to mean that you aren’t interested.
This would leave you believing that you are all set to attend a graduate program in the fall, only for the university to give your place away to someone else.
Avoid any confusion by asserting, “I gladly accept the offer of enrollment at [name of university] for a program of study commencing in the upcoming academic year.”
Unlike responding to an academic interview invitation , being offered a place at a university does not require you to take any further steps before claiming your place, except to accept it.
5. Name the specific degree program you will be enrolling in
To avoid any more potential confusion, re-state the name of the program you will be enrolling in.
While mix-ups related to which program a student is enrolled in are relatively rare, they do happen, and they can lead to delays in processing tuition fees or scholarship grants.
To avoid any possible problems, simply restate the program of study you’re planning on completing when you respond to an acceptance email.
6. Answer any questions in the acceptance email
In some cases, especially when you have applied to begin a course of graduate study or a PhD, the email notifying you of your acceptance into the program may include questions.
For example, it may ask you to confirm whether you will be completing the program full-time or part-time, or ask you for specific details about how you will be funding your course of study.
Whatever they are, if there are questions in the acceptance email you receive from a college or university, make sure you answer them in full.
This saves admissions department staffers––or your future supervisor––from having to chase you up to get answers, which would surely give them a less than favorable first impression of you.
Answering the questions you’re asked in a clear, concise, and prompt fashion demonstrates to the people you are corresponding with that you are a good communicator who responds reliably and pays close attention to detail.
Remember that responding to an acceptance email is not writing an essay about yourself , so keep things short and sweet.
If you are applying to a master’s degree program, remember that you might not receive an offer right off the bat. You might have to respond to an interview request for grad school , in which case you should look into the best way to do so.
7. Ask any questions you have about the enrollment process
If you have any questions about what the next steps are to become enrolled at the university you have been accepted to, take this opportunity to ask them.
Whether your questions are related to funding, accommodation, visas, or anything else at all, it is best to ask them as soon as possible so that you can get greater clarity about the process ahead.
8. Use an appropriate closing
This part is relatively easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
When ending a response to an acceptance email, use a closing that matches the tone of the email you’re sending.
For example, if you’re responding to an admissions officer who hasn’t used their own name to when sending the email, you can use, “Yours sincerely,” or “Kind regards.”
If, on the other hand, you are speaking to the professor who is offering to be your PhD supervisor, it is more appropriate to say, “Best wishes,” or “Best regards.”
What you shouldn’t do though, is either neglect to include a sign-off altogether, or else to use something wholly inappropriate like, “See ya soon!” or “Ttyl!”
9. Sign off using your full name
This may seem like a minor detail, but things like this can sometimes make a difference to the academic you’re corresponding with.
And it is never a bad idea to uphold a high level of formality until you have met someone and established an informal relationship.
So, for example, instead of signing off “Jackie,” make sure you sign of “Jaqueline Hara.” This demonstrates a level of professionalism that will surely be appreciated by the person you’re emailing.
The only exception to this rule is when the person you’re writing to has signed-off their email using only their first name.
This is unlikely to occur if you are applying for a place on an undergraduate course, but it may happen if you are applying to be a PhD candidate and receive an acceptance email directly from the professor who would be supervising your research.
If they sign-off their email with their first name, it is perfectly acceptable to sign-off your email using just yours.
Sample responses to an acceptance email (College, University, etc.)
While all this information may look relatively straightforward in theory, it can still be difficult to implement it when you sit down to write your response to an acceptance email.
So, to help you out, here are a few sample responses to an acceptance email from a higher institute of education.
Sample response to an acceptance email for an undergraduate degree
Many thanks for your email and for the opportunity to study toward a bachelor’s degree at Urban College.
I gladly accept the offer to begin undergraduate studies in September 2025 and look forward to learning more about the college in the meantime.
I appreciate your question about financial assistance, but I will not be requiring any further information about scholarship programs.
Please let me know how I should proceed with the enrollment process.
Sample response to an acceptance email for a master’s degree
Thank you for offering me a place on the Black and African Studies master’s degree program at Hampton University. I gladly accept the place and look forward to attending the HU this coming September.
I will not be needing the accommodation brochure, but I appreciate the offer.
I have questions about the process for procuring a student visa for the USA and was wondering whether you could point me to the organization or person at Hampton University responsible for advising students about the visa process.
Many thanks in advance and kind regards,
Sample response to an acceptance email for a PhD position
Many thanks for offering me the position to pursue my PhD research under your tutelage! I enthusiastically accept your offer.
I have enjoyed our conversations about the future of bovine-HC34-cell research immensely and look forward to delving deeper into this issue over the coming two years.
I assume I will need to contact the admissions department directly regarding enrollment. Is there anything I should know in advance of doing so?
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.
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College Acceptance Letter: What to Expect When You’re Accepted
College Acceptance Letters- A CollegeAdvisor Guide
Every year, when college acceptance letters are sent out, thousands of students hope to receive a college acceptance letter. The letter confirms that they’ve been accepted to their dream school . We know you’ll have a lot of questions about college acceptance letters. Our team at CollegeAdvisor is here to answer those college acceptance letter questions. We want to help you with that final step of university entry.
In this “Guide to College Acceptance Letters” we’ll talk through the following things:
- What to expect when you get into college
- What you’ll find in a typical college acceptance letter
- USC acceptance letter
- Stanford acceptance letter
- Northwestern acceptance letter
- UVA acceptance letter
- How the letter of acceptance will vary from school to school
- Interpreting college rejection letters
- Appealing college rejection letters
We’re committed to helping you get into college – from initial research to your acceptance the college of your dreams. That includes preparing you for what happens even after you submit your college applications.
Let’s start with a few basic FAQs about college acceptance letters:
1. what is a college acceptance letter.
A college acceptance letter is the letter of acceptance a college or university sends out. It tells you you’ve been accepted and officially offers you a place in their upcoming class of students.
2. How do colleges share their acceptance letters?
Most schools notify students electronically and with hard copies, so you can expect both mailed and emailed college acceptance letters. Some students will instead get an email notification to view their college acceptance letters through a school’s online portal.
3. When will I receive a college acceptance letter ?
For Early Action and Early Decision admissions cycles , your college acceptance letter might come early. You will often receive a decision – a college acceptance letter, college rejection letter, or deferral – in December. For the Regular Decision cycle, you will usually receive your college acceptance letter in late-March or early-April.
College Acceptance Letters and you
Now, you have an idea of what a college acceptance letter means. You also know how and when you expect to receive it. Let’s dig deeper into some more detailed information about college acceptance letters. Next, we’ll look at what to expect when reading a college acceptance letter. We’ll also talk about how to respond to college acceptance letters and college rejection letters.
College acceptance letters may seem simple. However, they are packed with information that may influence your college decision. So, an actual example of a college acceptance letter can help you imagine what your letter of acceptance might say. To give you an idea of what your college acceptance letters might sound like, we’ll share sample college acceptance letters. These will include a USC acceptance letter, a Stanford acceptance letter, a Northwestern acceptance letter, and a UVA acceptance letter. Then, we’ll share some important steps you should take after receiving your acceptance letters.
What is a Letter of Acceptance?
As we mentioned, a letter of acceptance is the letter that tells you you’ve got into college. Whether you choose to apply Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision, a letter of acceptance is how schools tell you about your admittance Let’s take a closer look at what these college acceptance letters include.
The primary purpose of a letter of acceptance is to tell applicants they have a place in the incoming class. Therefore, every acceptance letter begins with some form of congratulations. Then, it will give a clearly worded statement that says the school has accepted you into their upcoming class.
Look for info about scholarships & funding
In addition to telling you about your university entry, some college acceptance letters will also include details about funding. These could include financial aid awards, the status of your financial aid application, certain scholarships you may qualify for, and more.
Alternatively, the letter may simply direct you where you can find this information. This might be in your online application, a student portal or their website. While this information can be helpful, not every college acceptance letter will have these details. So, you may need to follow up with your school’s financial aid office to learn more.
Look for next steps
Receiving your college acceptance letter is only the first step of your college enrollment process. Typically, your letter of acceptance will provide next steps. This includes a deadline for when you need to tell the college if you will attend. Many colleges ask for some kind of tuition deposit. Some will also want a signed form that states whether you accept or reject your place. This helps the school update its official record, so they can see how many spots are available for students on the waitlist.
Now, we know a little bit more about what’s in a college acceptance letter. Next, let’s take a look at some real-life sample college acceptance letters. Sample college acceptance letters can let you imagine what to expect as you wait for your own college acceptance letters.
Each college acceptance letter example will be slightly different. For this reason, we’ve included a range of college acceptance letters. That way, you can see the different ways your college acceptance letter might look.
Sample College Acceptance Letters- Exploring 4 Real College Acceptance Letters!
In this college acceptance letter guide, we’ll present a college acceptance letter sample from USC, a college acceptance letter sample from Stanford, a college acceptance letter sample from Northwestern, and a college acceptance letter sample from UVA. Each of these college acceptance letters helps us analyze the different forms a sample of college acceptance letter may come in. Additionally, these examples help us highlight your next steps once you get into college and have your letter of acceptance.
USC Acceptance Letter
Our first college acceptance letter is from the University of Southern California . This sample of a college acceptance letter begins with an excited Congratulations! before clearly stating their offer of admission. This reads, I am pleased to offer you admission to the University of Southern California as part of the entering class of fall 2022.
This USC acceptance letter then continues their congratulations. It highlights the hard work the student put in to get into college – this offer is being extended to you as a result of your outstanding achievements.
This USC acceptance letter then describes the amazing resources you can expect during your time at USC. This includes their faculty of world renowned researchers who look forward to working with remarkable young people who will bring intellect, curiosity, and persistence to the university community.
The letter goes on to describe how USC is one of the most dynamic universities in the world , a place where you will work with scholars of all disciplines, from the sciences to the visual and performing arts, from the humanities to the social sciences and various professional disciplines ; where you will learn from others, we will learn from you, and you will grow to become a leader for the future.
This USC acceptance letter ends with an exciting Welcome to the Trojan Family!
Some college acceptance letters will tell you what to do next in the enrollment process. However, this one doesn’t offer much advice. Rather than outlining next steps, this college acceptance letter sample shows how an acceptance letter can be a warm invitation to join a student body. This type of acceptance letter is less informative than it is aspirational. It invites you to dream about what’s possible should you accept your offer. It’s also designed to persuade you to choose USC instead of another university.
This example of a college acceptance letter boils down to one action item: to look up next steps to enroll. We should also mention that this college acceptance letter is an e-letter that you will view through your application portal. Often, schools send both a digital letter and a hard copy in the mail. However, some schools choose to do one or the other.
Let’s take a look at another letter form more insight into what your future college acceptance letters may hold!
Stanford Acceptance Letter
Our next college acceptance letter is from Stanford . Stanford University if one of the most competitive schools in the US. It had an acceptance rate of just 3.95% for the Class of 2025 . If you’re lucky enough to receive a Stanford acceptance letter, here’s what to expect.
Just like the sample of college acceptance letter above (the USC acceptance letter), this Stanford acceptance letter begins with a Congratulations! You have been admitted to the Stanford Class of 2025! This college acceptance letter example then compliments the applicant, stating they are a fantastic match with Stanford before providing some helpful next steps.
The letter of acceptance briefly states that the student will join a diverse, joyful, and welcoming campus community with a shared determination to make our world better. Then, this Stanford acceptance letter directs students to visit their admitted students website , where they can learn more about the school and what it has to offer. It also points towards Cardinal Quad, their online platform for connecting students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
This sample of college acceptance letter also gives a link to the Stanford Portal, where students can find information about Financial Aid and complete an Admission Response Form before their deadline of May 3 rd .
Also note that this Stanford acceptance letter contains a brief conditional statement: To keep you r place in the class, we expect you to maintain the quality of your character and return a strong performance in the program of study reported in your application. Additionally, Stanford says that students were admitted, in part, due to this program of study and asks them to report any changes to their academic schedule.
This example of a college acceptance letter boils down to three action items:
- Complete the admission response form by the deadline
- Maintain your grades and a clean record of behavior
- Notify admissions of any changes to your courses
As you can see by comparing the Stanford acceptance letter to the USC acceptance letter, each college acceptance letter you will receive offers different information and guidance for next steps. Let’s take a look at another college acceptance letter example to see what else a college acceptance letter may say.
Northwestern Acceptance Letter
Next, we have a college acceptance letter from Northwestern University . As you will see, this Northwestern acceptance letter, unlike the Stanford acceptance letter and the USC acceptance letter, offers the student admission to a particular school and program of study. This means that when the student applied, they submitted their Northwestern application to a particular undergraduate school. As a result, the letter explains the student has been accepted to the Medill School of Journalism . Medill is one of the top ranked journalism schools in the country, so this is no small feat. Some programs are more competitive than others, so be sure to do your research when applying to your dream school.
Otherwise, the Northwestern acceptance letter begins similarly to the sample of college acceptance letter above. It says: Congratulations and welcome to the Class of 2026 at Northwestern University! The letter then describes how your considerable academic achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and impressive character stood out as truly exceptional.
Electronic acceptance letters
This sample of college acceptance letter was sent electronically. However, in the letter, admissions notes that you can expect a hard copy via mail, along with materials that outline steps toward enrolling in the Class of 2026.
While the next steps are not officially outlined in this Northwestern acceptance letter, they do provide a link to review these steps on our admitted student website , where you will also find ways to connect with the Northwestern community, engage with the remarkable opportunities available to you here, and experience what makes this place and its people so special.
In addition to a link to the admitted student website, this acceptance letter also gives a link to submit your enrollment decision. The letter clearly states students must submit enrollment decisions by May 1 st .
Similarly to the sample college acceptance letters above, Northwestern asks students to please note, our offer of admission is contingent upon the successful completion of your senior year and a review of your final transcript.
- Be on the lookout for hard copy materials with detailed steps
- Submit your enrollment decision by the deadline
- Maintain your grades and successfully earn your diploma
The three college acceptance letter examples above were all received by CollegeAdvisor students who submitted Regular Decision applications. However, as you might imagine, Early Decision or Early Action college acceptance letters may look a little different. Let’s take a look at our final sample college acceptance letter to learn what else to expect if you submit your application for early admission.
UVA Acceptance Letter
Our final college acceptance letter is from the University of Virginia .
This college acceptance letter sample begins straight away with On behalf of the entire University of Virginia community, we are excited to offer you admission to the class of 2026. This UVA acceptance letter is Early Action. For this reason, the UVA acceptance letter says that while the process was intensely competitive, admissions believes UVA will be better with you here (with the follow up We hope you feel the same way).
This sample of college acceptance letter is similar to those above – it details some of the benefits of university entry at UVA. This makes sense because, although this student applied during Early Action, this admissions decision is non-binding. So this applicant can decide whether to accept this letter of acceptance.
This UVA acceptance letter then goes into detail about how UVA will open doors for you and change your life in ways you can barely imagine . At UVA, students can expect to enter an incredibly close community where you will hear lectures that makes you see the world differently…discover new knowledge, answer enduring questions, and meet people who challenge and inspire you all at once.
Look for the important details
This UVA acceptance letter ends with a final congratulations. In addition, it contains some important next steps and a conditional statement::
Please follow the online instruction in this offer packet to pay your non-refundable tuition deposit by May 1, 2022. Our offer of admission also depends on your ability to maintain the same high standards in both your academic and personal life that earned you this letter in the first place.
This example of a college acceptance letter boils down to two action items:
- Pay your deposit by the deadline to secure your spot
Sample College Acceptance Letters- Final Thoughts
We’ve talked about some sample college acceptance letters and what they include. In particular, we looked at a USC acceptance letter, a Stanford acceptance letter, a Northwestern acceptance letter and a UVA acceptance letter. You may be more excited (or nervous) than ever to receive your own college acceptance letters and get into college!
Now that we’ve reviewed multiple sample college acceptance letters, let’s dig into a few more FAQs. These questions concern how and when you can expect to receive your college acceptance letters.
College Acceptance Letters- More FAQs
Do Colleges Still Mail Acceptance Letters?
As we saw in the example of a college acceptance letter above, many schools do still mail college acceptance letters. Even though you submit your Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision college applications online, most colleges will still mail you an official college acceptance letter.
Most mailed and electronic acceptance letters will be very similar, so you can expect your hard copy acceptance later to read just like the sample college acceptance letters we included above. However, as with the sample Northwestern acceptance letter above, some schools share different information in each one. So make sure you read both college acceptance letters thoroughly!
Although most colleges will send an acceptance letter in the mail, that isn’t the only way you’ll receive your college acceptance letter. In addition to mailing college acceptance letters, colleges and universities will also notify you virtually. In fact, you’ll usually first learn of your acceptance online, either via email or a school’s online portal.
How do Colleges Notify You of Acceptance?
There are three ways you’ll receive your letter of acceptance: by mail, email, or on your online portal. How schools choose to tell students about their university entry will vary. Check with your school’s office of admissions to see when and how you’ll get your letter of acceptance.
You can expect most schools to mail out hard copies of their college acceptance letters. However, due to possible delays in the mailing system, you’ll also probably get your college acceptance letter electronically.
On the day your school releases admissions decisions, it’s important you can access the email you used in your college applications. Even if schools don’t send your letter of acceptance in an email, you may receive an email that tells you to check an online portal.
Many schools use an online portal to tell students about their university entry. Even if you applied through general application portals like the Common App or Coalition App, some schools will ask that you sign up for a school-specific online portal. Then, they can send you notifications about the status of your application and, hopefully, your letter of acceptance.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Acceptance Letter From a University?
The date you get your college acceptance letter will depend on when you applied to get into college. Students who applied in earlier admissions cycles , either Early Action or Early Decision, can expect their college acceptance letters months before Regular Decision applicants. .
Students who applied Early Decision or Early Action can generally expect to receive their letter of acceptance sometime mid to late December . Early Decision or Early Action cycles tend to be competitive – so only some students will receive a letter of acceptance.
What happens if you are not accepted?
If you don’t get a letter of acceptance, you’ll be told that your application has been rejected or deferred. College rejection letters mean that the school’s decided not to offer you an acceptance letter and a place in their upcoming class.
A deferral letter means that, although you don’t have a place yet, your application was strong and you’ll be considered with the Regular Decision applicants. Deferred students have to wait for the Regular Decision admissions decisions to see if they’ll receive that acceptance letter and get into college.
For advice on what to do if you’re deferred, check out this webinar .
What is a “waitlist”?
Students who applied Regular Decision can expect to receive their letter of acceptance sometime in March or early-April . Similarly to early applicants, you may also receive a letter of rejection at this time. Unlike early Early Action and Early Decision students, Regular Decision applicants can be put on a waitlist .
If you’re on a waitlist, your application has been fully reviewed. Although you’ve met the school’s qualifications, they are unable to offer you university entry for now. However, if another student were to decline their letter of acceptance, you could be taken off the waitlist and offered a place. Because schools don’t tell you where you are on the waitlist, it’s hard to predict the odds of getting accepted from the waitlist .
Are you a parent of a senior who’s receiving college acceptance letters, deferrals, waitlists and college rejection letters? Check out this webinar for some great tips on how best to support your child.
Digital college acceptance letters
Since most application letters are delivered electronically, you don’t need to frantically check your mailbox for your college acceptance letter. Remember, you’ll probably get your college acceptance letters over the course of two to three weeks. Each school will have their own date, and usually even a specific time, they are planning to send out college acceptance letters. Expect to receive your notification on that day before a certain time (be sure to double check the school’s time zone!)
When Should I Expect my College Acceptance Letter?
College acceptance letters and college rejection letters are sent electronically, so you probably won’t have a delay in receiving your letter of acceptance. For this reason, you’re likely to get your letter of acceptance the same day as all other applicants to that school.
March or early April is the time you’ll get most college acceptance letters (unless you applied Early Action or Early Decision!) However, most schools will release college acceptance letters on a specific day within this timeframe.
For example, let’s look at the schools represented by the sample college acceptance letters discussed above. That is, the USC college acceptance letter example, the Stanford college acceptance letter example, the Northwestern college acceptance letter example, and the UVA college acceptance letter example.
These sample college acceptance letters tell us the specific date each school sent out their college acceptance letters. Below we’ve given the dates students can expect to hear about their university entry – with a letter of acceptance, college rejection letters or a waitlist/ deferral notice.
University of Southern California :
- Regular Decision : End of March – March 25 th , 2022
Stanford University :
- Restrictive Early Action : Mid December – December 15 th , 2022
- Regular Decision : Early April – April 1 st , 2022
Northwestern University :
- Early Decision : Mid-December – December 17 th , 2022
- Regular Decision : End of March/Early April – March 25 th , 2022
University of Virginia :
- Early Decision : Mid-December – December 15 th , 2022
- Early Action: January 31 st – February 15 th 2022
- Regular Decision : End of March – April 1 st , 2022
The specific dates may change from year to year, so be sure to check each school’s website for the exact day you’ll hear about university entry.
If you are planning to submit applications to one or more Ivy League school, you should know when Ivy Day is coming up. Ivy Day is the date all Ivy League schools notify Regular Decision applicants of their admissions decisions. It’s normally in late March, similarly to other school’s Regular Decision admissions notification timeline. In 2022, Ivy Day was on March 31 st .
Because the majority of students apply Regular Decision, most students will get their college acceptance letters sometime in mid- to late-March or early-April. However, if you don’t get a letter of acceptance, you can expect college rejection letters or waitlist notifications.
Patience is key
If you are put on a waitlist , you may feel unsure about next steps. There is no exact timeline for when you can expect to get off of a waitlist. Enough students need to decline their letter of admission for you to move off of the waitlist and be offered university entry. While there’s a chance you get off the waitlist within a month of receiving your admissions decisions, it could be late summertime before you hear back.
Once you have a college acceptance letter (or college rejection letters) from all your schools, it is time to make a decision . If you had a good ‘get into college’ game plan, you’ll have applied to the right combination of safety, match, and reach schools . So you’ll probably have more than one letter of acceptance.
Because not every school sends out their college acceptance letters on the same day, you’ll have time to think about which college acceptance letters you want to accept. For most schools, the deadline for responding to your college acceptance letter is May 1 st .
How to Respond to a College Acceptance Letter?
Since you’ve seen our sample college acceptance letters, you already have an idea of what to expect in a letter of acceptance.
What are your next steps when all your college acceptance letters have come in? You must respond before your school’s enrollment deadline to confirm your acceptance. As you saw in the sample college acceptance letters, schools will tell you when their deadline for acceptance letter response is.
University enrollment takes place entirely online, so you don’t have to worry about mailing in forms or sending documents on time.
Your enrollment process may be different if you applied for Early Action or Early Decision university entry. Unlike students who apply Regular Decision, students who get into college during Early Decision will not have multiple schools and college acceptance letters to choose from. Early Decision is, by nature, a binding agreement between you and the school. So, if they give you a letter of acceptance, you must accept your spot .
Regular Decision applications
If you applied Regular Decision, you must accept your offer from the school of your choice and decline the others. Most schools will ask you to notify them either way. This way, they can potentially move other applicants off of the waitlist. Once you’ve decided on the school you’d like to attend, you may be asked to submit a tuition deposit. This is a non-refundable deposit which holds your place in the upcoming class.
If you are waitlisted, all you can do is wait. Additionally, if you are waitlisted at your dream school but have other admission offers, accept one of your other offers before all of the deadlines pass. If you end up getting off the waitlist, you may have to forfeit your original tuition deposit, but at least that way you’ll have a spot at a university either way.
What do College Rejection Letters Say?
Firstly, remember that most students, no matter how stellar they are, will likely receive college rejection letters at some point. We understand that receiving college rejection letters can be hard, especially after months of hard work and preparation.
While college rejection letters are never easy, remember that college rejection letters don’t reflect your worth. The college admissions process is rigorous, unpredictable, and relies on many factors beyond your control. Sometimes it’s not clear why one student will get into college and another won’t.
When schools send out their college rejection letters, it is not always because they don’t think you are a good fit. Sometimes, admissions is simply looking for a certain type of student to round out their incoming class and you didn’t fit the bill.
For tips on overcoming college rejection letters, check out this article .
College rejection letter tone and content
Expect your college rejection letters to be brief and to the point. Admissions will thank you for applying and then say you haven’t been offered university entry. College rejection letters can leave many students wondering “why didn’t I get into college?” You may wonder if there’s anything you could have done to change the outcome. However, most college rejection letters won’t give a reason for the decision about university entry.
Although college acceptance letters may come through the mail at some point, you won’t always receive college rejection letters in the mail. You’ll get your rejection letter in the same electronic manner as you would an acceptance letter – either via email or via your online portal.
Since both acceptance and rejection letters often come out at the same time, you may prefer to wait until the end of the day to check emails or online portals. Then, you have time to process the decision by yourself, whatever the outcome.
Can You Appeal a College Rejection Letter?
While you may feel powerless in the face of college rejection letters , you can always make an appeal .
Appealing college rejection letters means you send a formal request to ask a college to reconsider. However, remember that there’s no shortcut to get into college. Once a school has decided on university entry, they probably won’t reverse this. Once they’ve rejected your application, they’re unlikely to grant you university entry.
While appealing college rejection letters works for some students, admissions decisions are rarely overturned. In their Guide to the College Admissions Appeal Process , U.S. News says the percentage of college rejection letters successfully appealed is low. In the last few years, the percentage of successful college rejection letters appeals was 3-5%.
For most students, unless new information has come to light since you submitted your application (and your grades and test scores are in the top quartile of admitted applicants), your chances of success are low. As a matter of fact, they’re so low that it may not be worth appealing college rejection letters.
Choose a valid reason to appeal
Appeals based solely on your desire to attend a specific school are likely to fail. Many students feel strongly about attending certain universities. Admissions teams have far more students who want to attend than they have college acceptance letters. However, if you experience a significant change in your grades or need to correct an error on your original application, it may be worth looking into the school’s policy for appealing college rejection letters.
If you do decide to appeal your college rejection letters, check the official policy – either from the school’s admission’s website or by contacting the office of admissions. Some schools don’t let students appeal college rejection letters. Meanwhile, others have very strict requirements for appeals to college rejection letters. After schools send their letters of rejection, there’s also usually a strict timeline for appeals. For example, the University of California Berkeley allows freshman applicants four weeks to appeal their college rejection letters.
College Acceptance Letter: Final Thoughts
It isn’t easy applying to get into college. All hard work and hours spent writing supplemental essays and putting together your application culminates in that final moment where you can finally press send. And then you have to wait. Wait to receive your golden ticket, your college acceptance letter confirming your university entry.
Alternatively, you’ll receive your college rejection letters saying that although you were a wonderful applicant, this just isn’t the school for you.
The waiting can be hard, but that is why it is so important to plan ahead and send out the best applications you possibly can. Choose schools where you think you’ll shine. This will make that moment when your acceptance letter finally comes in worth it.
In this “Guide to College Acceptance Letters”, we’ve talked about:
- College acceptance letters
- How you’ll receive college acceptance letters
- Some sample college acceptance letters
- Your next steps after college acceptance letters and college rejection letters
If you have received multiple college acceptance letters, you’ve finally reached the fun part: deciding! Choosing the school you are going to attend for the next four years is a big decision and one you eventually have to make for yourself. Talk to current students or faculty, visit if you can, consider the pros and cons of each school, and go with the place you’ll thrive.
Check out our resources
If you’re just starting the college application process, don’t think too much about college acceptance or rejection letters. Check out our resources on Applying to Ivy League Schools , Determining a College Essay Topic , and even Summer Planning for 8 th , 9 th , and 10 th Graders .
If you’re not sure where to start, our expert team of Advisors can work with you through every step of the process:
- building your college list
- writing your essays
- honing your candidate profile
Work with us to maximize your chances of receiving an acceptance letter.
CollegeAdvisor offers a range of college application services to help students get into college. If you want college application guidance from expert college application Advisors, get started today with your free account or schedule an advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.
This guide to college acceptance letters was written by Stefanie Tedards. At CollegeAdvisor, we have built our reputation by providing comprehensive information that offers real assistance to students. If you want to get help with your college applications from CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Experts , visit us online or call (844) 576-0953 to schedule your free advising consultation . We’re excited to help start you on the path to a successful future!
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