Rejected, Deferred, Accepted: What’s Next?

December 11, 2017

Last weekend colleges sent out their Early Decision and Early Action decisions. Here are some tips and suggestions for those who were rejected, deferred and accepted!

If you got rejected…

It’s completely reasonable to be upset! You’ve put so much hard work into getting good grades in high school, giving up weekends to study for the SAT, and right about now, you probably feel like your life is ruined. You have every right to feel that way; in fact, you should be disappointed, because if you aren’t, it means you didn’t really care all that much about the school you applied to.

While you’re in the abyss of disappointment, we’re here to let you in on a little secret: Everything will be alright. Not getting in doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not qualified; it may mean that this school really might not be the one for you. Colleges choose their students like we choose them—apart from the academic credentials, colleges also look for students who they believe will thrive in their institution.

Another secret? The regular decision deadline is just around the corner, and everyone is working hard on their applications while you’re upset about getting rejected. It’s a lot easier said than done, but getting up after falling down is part of what it takes to succeed in college and in the real world.

Make sure you reflect on your Early Action/Decision application. Was there a side of you that you didn’t show off in your application? Read some of these AdmitSee Profiles to figure out what you could have done better.

P.S. No one from the AdmitSee Team got accepted Early Action, but we all ended up at great universities that we all came to enjoy and love!

If you were deferred…

Keep your head up! Remember that being deferred means that there is something special about you that the college saw. So, definitely hold on to that and remember that this isn’t a no!

At the same time, it also isn’t a yes. There is something you can do—write a letter to the admissions officer at the college you applied to. If you choose to write a letter expressing your continued interest, make sure you new material to add or share. Do not repeat what’s already in your previously submitted application. This is your opportunity to enhance your application on your own terms and to show how you have continued to strive academically after you submitted your application.

This letter should be less than one page! Admission officers will be swamped with emails, so you want to make it short and sweet. Make sure to include your name, high school, admission area, application ID, or anything that can help them look up your application quickly! It might also be worthwhile to attach a letter of recommendation from a coach or a mentor who hasn’t already recommended you.

Want more specific advice? Try our Advice Search to get your questions answered by college students who have been in your shoes. You can also unlock this package of students who were deferred from early admission, and were later accepted. Our premium plans offer different levels of profile access and data insights that can help you get into your dream school.

Unlock any of our packages or search our undergraduate profile database to find specific profiles that can help you make an informed choice about where to apply! We have 60,000+ successful college application files uploaded by college students. See how they got in, and how you can too!

If you were accepted…

Congratulations, you’re in college! If this school is your first choice, then you’re all set! You deserve to celebrate with friends and family for this amazing accomplishment! 

Do keep in mind, however, that just because you’ve been accepted into college, it doesn’t mean you can let school work slide or not study for your AP exams. It’s still extremely important that you do. If you let your grades fall too low, your acceptance letter can be rescinded.

If this school isn’t your top choice, don’t let yourself become complacent! It is definitely a relief to know you have a safety net, but reach for your top choice that you’ve always dreamt about. Don’t get lazy now.

Finally, be mindful of others! It is a great accomplishment that you got in early, but don’t be arrogant about it. Your friends will be genuinely happy for you, but it can also be emotionally difficult for them to hear you talk about it while they are still going through a tough time with applications. Be a good friend and an emotional support for each other!

Congratulations to all students who were offered early admission! Create a profile and upload your successful college application materials to inspire and help future applicants. Plus, earn some extra money while you’re at it.

Browse Successful Application Files


Accepted to Columbia, Northeastern, BU, Miami, UMass, UVM

Music-Loving Pre-Med studying Neuroscience

Accepted to Rice, Rochester, Case, Emory, Hamilton, Pitt, Union, Miami

Experience applying as daughter of first generation US immigrants. Aspiring physician interested in double majoring in Acting and Cognitive Science.

Accepted to USC, NYU, UMich, UCSD, Rochester, BC, BU, Miami OH, Loyola U Chicago, Miami, U of Minnesota, Drexel, Illinois

Typical Student from Chicago who has had the best of the American/Hispanic Culture. As well, I applied to 25 schools
UC Berkeley

Accepted to UC Berkeley, Brown, Claremont (CMC), Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Northwestern, Pomona, Stanford, San Diego, Vanderbilt, UCSC, UCSB, UCSD, UCLA, Cal Poly, Cal Poly Pomona, Washington

UC Berkeley Class of 2020

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