Early decision didn’t work…what now?

After enormous consideration, you decided to apply early decision to your first-choice college. You weighed your options, knew that applying early decision could provide additional leverage to your candidacy, and if admitted, you’ve signed a binding agreement to attend. Unfortunately, it didn’t work in your favor. What now?


First, let’s take a look at how it didn’t work.




You were deferred. An emotional rollercoaster for sure. While you still have a chance that you could be admitted later in the application cycle, you are also puzzled as to why you were not admitted straight away. Certainly, you need to work through these emotions and process your thoughts, you also need to remember that there is still work to be done if you want to be fully considered. If this school remains at the top of the list, you can submit additional grades, test scores, accomplishments, and most importantly, a letter of continued interest – where you will confirm that if admitted at a later date, you are committed to enrolling.


You were denied. A highly disappointing outcome – and one you did not expect. The most important thing you can do is mentally process this decision and take the next steps to move on to the other colleges on your list. Outside of the question of ‘why did I not get admitted’ is the often asked ‘can I reapply in the regular decision round.’ The simple answer to this is no. The college has provided you with a final outcome for your application and it’s now time to think about other schools.


It’s time to put together a strategic plan to move forward.


Make a broad list of alternative schools. Build a longer list of schools that contain reach schools (where you have less than a 20% chance of admission, target schools (where your chance of admission falls between 20 and 50%), and safety schools (greater than a 50% chance of admission). While these percentages aren’t obsolete – they can be used as a general guideline.


Consider Early Decision II. Is there a leading school on this broader list? Might that school offer the opportunity to apply during the second round of early decision? Are you willing to commit to attending this next school? If the answer is yes to all three, submitting an application for Early Decision II could be a wonderful opportunity. Doing so would help you demonstrate your interest in attending, much as you did in the initial Early Decision round.


Seek assistance from an admission consultant. This may be a good time to receive professional assistance to review your application and college options. A consultant can review your academic and co-curricular profile and assist with the creation of a college list where you fit best. They can also review and provide advice on your essays and your answers to supplemental questions. An application review by a seasoned admission professional may be the edge you need.


It’s a simple solution. If you are ready to apply early, do it. If not, don’t rush it…take time to put together a complete application. With the various methods, timelines, and application restrictions that exist, the application process can seem overwhelming. Take time to understand the processes at your list of schools and what they require during the admission process.


Ultimately, your goal is to be admitted – hopefully to a variety of schools. You can achieve this by making sure you are presenting the best version of yourself throughout the application process. Solomon Admissions Consulting would love to help! Contact us to learn how!

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