Waiting for Your Admission Notifications

This time of year, high school seniors who applied to colleges by early deadlines have just received admission notifications. We are of course thrilled for those students who have already been admitted, and we are equally excited for those who await further admissions updates. Whether you’re eagerly anticipating responses or considering your next steps, we remind you that it isn’t over ‘till it’s over and that Moxie is here to guide you through the next stage of your journey.

How to Interpret Admission Notifications

It’s completely normal to oscillate between confidence and uncertainty during this waiting period, especially if the initial batch of admissions notifications doesn’t turn out the way you wished. Remember, college admissions decisions are never based on a single factor. Admissions offices consider numerous elements, some pertaining to your specific application and many more that are beyond your control. Never interpret an admissions notification as a judgment of your hard work or personal character – whether you’re accepted, rejected, or somewhere in between.

Now, let’s unpack the different admission notifications you may encounter and how to manage them:


Rejection, or as some colleges call it, “redirection,” can understandably sting, even if you weren’t expecting to be admitted, but is often a blessing in disguise. In any case, be proud of yourself for going for it regardless. After all, the statistical outcome for admission if you don’t apply at all is zero percent.

Though tempting, avoid trying to investigate or theorize why you were not accepted. Conducting a postmortem on your application is almost always futile; we’ll never really know the reasons for your admissions outcomes. It’s also important to understand that the outcome at one institution – whether favorable or not – is not indicative of what may happen at another university, who has its own set of institutional priorities to consider.


If your rejection was based on misinformation or there were critical developments that could not be conveyed to admissions in time for evaluation, some colleges offer an appeal process. Though rare, it’s worth considering if you have new, compelling evidence that was not a part of your original application file.


Generally, deferral means the admissions office believes you’re qualified to be admitted and that your application will be automatically considered again in the regular decision applicant pool. However, they need more context before they can make a decision about your application. It could be that they are waiting to get a fuller picture of its total applicant pool, or it may be that they want more information about you (e.g., grades from senior year, updates about extracurriculars, an additional letter of recommendation).

College Admissions Notifications: A Positive Sign?

While deferral and the wait that comes with it are disappointing, it’s actually a positive sign in most cases, so do not be discouraged; it’s not the end of the road. Moxie regularly helps students respond to deferral notifications with substantive updates to optimize their application’s positioning during the second review.

An important note is that if you’re deferred from an early decision school, you’re no longer bound to attend that school if admitted later, which can be a happy development: your original first-choice college is still a viable option and you’ve expressed the ultimate form of demonstrated interest, but you are also free to attend other awesome colleges that admit you in the spring, even if your early decision college admits you later.


If you are offered a spot on a college’s waitlist, it is a similar message to a deferral: you are qualified, they want you, but something outside of the scope of your application got in the way. The big difference between waitlist and deferral is that there is no guarantee or expectation that your application will be re-evaluated. Waitlists do move though, but this varies college to college and year to year.

We recommend that you respond to a waitlist offer, but mentally, it is best to set that college aside and focus on the colleges that have admitted you. At Moxie, every year we see students offered waitlist spots and ultimately admitted – admission from a waitlist can arrive anytime between May up until the week before classes start in August – so it’s worth taking seriously if you are waitlisted by a college you hope to attend.


Congratulations! You’ve secured a spot in the freshman class. If it’s Early Decision (ED), you’re committed to attending, so withdraw your applications to other colleges, remit the enrollment deposit, and start gearing up for undergraduate school (without losing focus on finishing your senior year strong). If it’s Early Action (EA), you are not bound to attend and have until spring (usually May 1) to decide among the other colleges that admit you.

Early Decision II?

Don’t forget some schools offer two types of early decision: EDI and EDII. The agreement to attend if admitted is the same for both, but their timelines differ. The deadline for EDII is later, typically in January (almost always the same date as the college’s regular decision deadline), which allows you to make an EDII commitment after hearing back from your first ED school in December. This can be an excellent option if you have a clear second-choice college, if you’ve had a change of heart, or if you just needed more time to consider committing to a college. The notifications for EDII usually arrive in February, before the notifications for regular deadlines, which come in March or April.

Admission Notifications: Early Deadlines

Not every student chooses to apply by early deadlines. Sometimes, that’s a personal choice and sometimes it’s a strategic one. But for those who do, if your early application notifications don’t initially yield the results you want, stay the course. Moxie students always have a plan for all possible outcomes, which helps avoid overreaction or overcorrection when admissions notifications roll in.

Should you take advantage of early deadlines? Let’s discuss. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about college admissions or your admission notifications. We’ll navigate this important decision among others together.