Can You Accept Admission to Multiple Colleges?

One common question we receive from our students and families is whether you can accept offers from multiple colleges or universities. In short, the answer is no, you cannot.

When a student or family advises us that they are going to put down deposits with several schools and then worry about deciding later which college or university will be the final choice, we cringe – for many reasons. Let us explain.

Why You Should Not Accept Admission to More than One College or University

There are various reasons why you should not put down a deposit with several schools, and these impact you as the student, other students, and the colleges and universities where you applied.

1. You Would Be Breaking a Contract with the Colleges

The first and foremost reason is that when you submit your application to any college or university, you electronically sign something that says you will only accept an offer from one school. So, theoretically, this should be the end of discussion. You might ask yourself, “Why would that be? Why is this such an important rule and contractual obligation that I have to live by?” Well, let’s explore that further below.

2. Colleges and Universities Rely Upon Your Contract and Acceptance

Let’s look at the logistical reasons behind the contract that you signed electronically. When you put down a deposit with a university or college, you are in essence saying to them, “I’m accepting your acceptance and I’m going to attend your school.” The college or university then fully believes that you’re going to attend. So that school holds a spot for you. As a result, they are not going to accept any other students because they have a set number of students, called their yield, that they have budgeted for to accept their acceptance as freshman coming in for the following year. This yield is a very important number to schools. Even though they may be non-profit organizations, the yield is a revenue generator for many colleges and universities – and everything is based on dollars and cents. If you put a deposit down on the school, they are counting on the income associated with your attendance. That is the rationale behind the contract of accepting admission to only one college or university. Keep in mind that you can only attend one school so it is an impossibility for you to attend more than one if you put down more than one deposit.

3. Accepting Admission to Multiple Schools Hurts Other Students

Now, let’s look at it from the perspective of other applicants. As we mentioned above, when you put down your deposit, the school holds a spot for you in the incoming class. As a result, other students may have been waitlisted or rejected. Accepting a school that you will not be attending, takes up the spots of other applicants who may very well have wanted to attend that university or college. Your actions are hurting others.

4. Breaking the Contract Can Hurt Your Admission

And let us point out what could be the most motivating reason for not accepting admission to more than one school: if you put down multiple deposits and the schools that admitted you find out, they can pull your acceptance and then you are out of luck!

We’re hoping this explanation helps you understand that when you accept admission to multiple colleges and universities you are not only breaking a contract, you are also negatively impacting the schools, fellow students, and possibly yourself. Even though you may not have read the fine print online, you can only accept an acceptance from one school. That is the golden rule. So our advice is to do your due diligence. Do more research on the colleges and universities you’ve been accepted to. Go back and visit. Go to accepted students days. Learn more about the schools – the academics they offer, the personality of the school – and make your decision by May 1st of your senior year, the very latest. Just put down one deposit to accept that acceptance.

Looking for help with the college search and application process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.

Contact us at or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students through Zoom, over the phone, and by email.