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When Do College Decisions Come Out?

College
by Bold Org Editorial Team
January 25, 2024
9 min read
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The end to the beginning of the year is always a hectic time. Between the holidays and the end of the school year approaching, there is so much to prepare for, especially if you're applying to college. The college application process is a time of eager anticipation as students work hard to finalize their grades and gather all the materials for their applications. But once the applications are submitted, the question is: when do college decisions come out?

In this article, we will dig into the spectrum of college admissions, explore the various application options, the factors influencing decision release dates, strategies for navigating the waiting period, and a list of decision dates. At Bold.org, we know how stressful it can be awaiting big, important news like this, but we are here to help guide you through the waiting as much as we can.

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The Spectrum of College Admissions

When it comes to college admissions, it's easy to automatically think of the acceptance and not the process. But, in fact, college admissions is a spectrum of different processes and a range of factors colleges consider when reviewing applicants for admission.

It includes different components like academic performance, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and sometimes interviews. Understanding the college admissions process is the first step in knowing when you can expect to receive your college decisions.

Let's take a second to go over some of these decision factors.

Early Decision (ED) vs Early Action (EA)

Early Decision (ED) is an application option where students apply to their top-choice college early in their senior year, typically by November 1st or 15th.

This is a binding option that usually comes with an expedited decision release date, usually sometime around the first week in December. However, since it is a binding option, the catch is that if you're admitted through ED, you must commit to that college and withdraw other applications.

There is such thing as early decision II (ED II) that allows students to apply for early just like ED, with the same terms applying. However, ED II has a later application date. These dates usually land in early January, but we recommend going for mid-December ED II.

However, early action (EA), though similar to early decision, is a non-binding option, allowing students to apply to colleges early and receive an earlier admission decision without having to commit to any school. Early action can be beneficial for students who want to receive an early admission decision and still have time to explore their options.

Remember to do some research on the schools you wish to apply to. It's important to familiarize yourself with their deadlines and all admissions dates before sending out applications.

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Regular Decision (RD)

Regular decision is the standard application practice for the admission process. It is followed by most colleges and universities and is the traditional route for students to apply to colleges without any binding commitment to attend if accepted.

Under regular decision, students typically submit their applications by a specified deadline (which is usually later than the early decision or early action deadlines).

After the application deadline, the college admissions office reviews the applications and makes a decision. Students are then notified of their admission status within a specified timeframe, often in the spring, anytime from March to early April.

There are some advantages to the standard regular decision notification dates process, too. Not only does it allow students more time to explore their options, but it also gives students the freedom to compare financial aid packages and make their final decision on which college to attend after doing research and going through their options. It also gives students the opportunity to improve their academic performance or add to their extracurricular activities during their senior year.

Rolling Admission

Now, rolling admissions is a little different. Rolling admissions is a type of college admissions process where applications are reviewed, and decisions are made as applications are received. Unlike regular decision or early decision processes that have set application deadlines, rolling admissions have a longer application window with a more flexible timeline.

An advantage of rolling admissions is that it allows students to apply earlier in the admissions cycle and receive earlier decisions. This can give students more time to plan and make informed decisions about their college choices.

college-decisions-teacher-writing-on-board

Factors Influencing Decision Dates

If you've ever wondered what factors and details influence college decision dates, you're not alone. It's easy to assume that schools focus on first-come-first-serve tactics, but there are several other factors that influence when college decisions are released, though they can vary from one institution to another. Here are some key influences colleges take into account when determining their decisions:

  • Application Deadline - The application deadline you choose plays a crucial role in decision release. Early applicants, such as those who apply through early decision applicants, ED II applicants, or EA applicants, can expect earlier decision notifications. Regular Decision applicants will typically receive decisions later, allowing colleges more time to review their applications.
  • Admissions Policies - Each college has its own admissions policies and procedures. Some colleges may aim for a quick turnaround to provide applicants with early decisions, while others may take more time to conduct in-depth evaluations.
  • Competition and Selectivity - The level of competition and the selectivity of a college can influence decision release dates. Highly selective colleges may take more time to make their choices due to the complexity of the selection process.

Please note: The decision for each college admission is based on their coordinating policies. It's important to do thorough research on your schools of choice to make sure you're aware of their dates, policies, and different factors that affect decision notification dates.

students-looking-at-college-decisions-on-computer

Where to Find Decision Release Dates

As an applicant, it's crucial to keep track of decision release dates for each college you've applied to. You want to be aware of these dates to make sure you're prepared and know what to expect. But even if you don't, we've got you covered. Here are some ways you can find decision release dates:

  • College website
  • Admissions portal
  • Contact admissions office
  • Online forums and communities
  • Common application portal
  • Inquire with admissions

And if all else fails, call your schools and double-check! Don't forget that you have the power to follow up with your schools to ensure you're on top of your game. So, don't just rely on technology to get the information you need. Ask administrators, counselors, and other institutional professionals. After all, this is your future. Never be afraid to advocate for yourself!

Ways to Cope with the Wait

The period between submitting your college applications and receiving decisions can be stressful and anxiety-inducing, and at Bold.org, the last thing we want for students is to get stuck in limbo. On the contrary, this waiting period should be used productively! So, here are some strategies to help you cope with the waiting game:

  • Keep Busy - Engage in activities that keep you occupied and your mind off the waiting. Volunteer, work, or explore new hobbies. Staying active can help alleviate anxiety.
  • Maintain Perspective - Remember that college decisions are just one part of your life's journey. It's essential to maintain perspective and understand that there are multiple paths to success.
  • Research Your Options - While you wait, research the colleges you've applied to in more detail. Understand their programs, campus culture, and financial aid options. This will help you make an informed decision when the time comes.
  • Plan for Multiple Outcomes - Prepare yourself for the possibility of different outcomes. Consider what you'll do if you're accepted, waitlisted, or denied. Having a plan in place can alleviate some of the stress.
  • Reach Out to Support Systems - Talk to friends, family, teachers, or counselors about your feelings. Sharing your emotions and concerns with your support system can provide a sense of relief.

Whatever you do, it's important to take the time between deadlines and release decisions to be positive and hope for the best. No matter the outcome, you should remain focused on your educational future and continue to move accordingly. Even if one school says no, don't let it discourage you! Whether it be Ivy League schools or liberal arts colleges, remain diligent and on track with your plans to get a higher education.

college-students-studying

What to Do When Decisions Arrive

Congratulations! You submitted your application, waited patiently, and finally heard back from your school(s) of choice. This can be such a rush! Here are some things you can do once your decisions arrive:

Now that the waiting game is over, be sure to go over all of your acceptance letters and weigh out your options. You want to make sure that the school you choose aligns with your educational goals and future. If you already know what school you're going to choose, you are one step ahead. So, take your thinking cap off and enjoy yourself!

Regular Decision Notification Dates at Top Colleges

The majority of college admissions decisions become available in the latter part of late March, as well as university decisions, so if you're wondering when, then you've come to the right place.

Below are the decision dates for some of the top US colleges:

Early to Mid-March:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology - March 3, 2024 (Georgia resident students); March 24, 2024 (Non-Georgia resident students)
  • University of California-Davis - March 10, 2024
  • California Institute of Technology - March 12, 2024
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology - March 14, 2024
  • Fordham University - March 15, 2024
  • American University - March 16, 2024
  • University of Notre Dame - March 16, 204
  • Johns Hopkins University - March 17, 2024
  • Pepperdine University - March 17, 2024
  • University of California-Los Angeles - March 17, 2024
  • University of California-San Diego - March 17, 2024
  • University of Georgia - March 17, 2024
  • University of Virginia - March 17, 2024
  • Wellesley College - March 18, 2024

Late March University Decisions:

  • Oberlin College - March 21, 2024
  • Tufts University - March 21, 2024
  • Colgate University - March 23, 2024
  • Northwestern University - March 24, 2024
  • Smith College - March 24, 2024
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill - March 24, 2024
  • University of Southern California - March 24, 2024
  • Boston University - March 25, 2024
  • Carnegie Mellon University - March 25, 2024
  • Barnard College - March 29, 2024
  • Emory University - March 29, 2024
  • New York University - March 28, 2024
  • Vanderbilt University - March 28, 2024
  • Dartmouth College - March 30, 2024
  • Georgetown University - March 30, 2024
  • University of California-Berkeley - March 30, 2024
  • Duke University - March 31, 2024
  • Stanford University - March 31, 2024

Just to name a few, but keep in mind the timing of college decision release dates can vary significantly depending on your application type and the policies of the colleges to which you've applied. It's important to be aware of these timelines and use the waiting period productively.

Whether you're accepted or denied, remember that each decision is a stepping stone in your educational journey, and your path to success will continue to unfold, regardless of the outcome.

Graduate and Doctoral Decision Notification Dates

When it comes to graduate and doctoral decision notification dates, decision dates can vary depending on the school and program. These schools tend to review applications as they are received, so some applicants may hear back anywhere between 2 and 4 weeks after they've submitted their applications.

However, decisions typically begin to roll out from the beginning to mid-April. Sometimes even sooner, depending on the school, so be sure to check with your school and program details to stay updated on their deadlines and dates.

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Frequently Asked Questions About College Decision Notification Dates

How can I find out the specific decision release dates for the colleges I've applied to?

You can find decision release dates on the official websites of the colleges you've applied to, in your applicant portal, or by contacting the college's admissions office directly. Online forums and communities can also be helpful sources for shared information.

What should I do if I miss a decision notification or can't access it?

In case you miss a decision or notification date or encounter technical issues, it's important to contact the college's admissions office promptly. They can assist you in retrieving your decision or provide guidance on how to address any problems.

What do I do if I've been waitlisted for my dream school?

Remember that being waitlisted is a reflection of the competitiveness of college admissions. While it can be disappointing, it's not a reflection of your worth or abilities. Be proactive, stay engaged, and have a backup plan in place while you await a final admissions decision elsewhere. Ultimately, you will make the best decision for your academic future, whether that's at the waitlisted college or another institution that has accepted you.

Applying for college? Be sure to head over to our Scholarship Blog to learn more about college admissions decisions and be sure to check out some of our exclusive scholarships today!

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