How Long Does It Take for Colleges to Make Admissions Decisions?

The timing for admissions decisions vary by school and the way you apply. A college could reply in as little as two weeks or as long as months! Here is a breakdown of the typical timelines for regular decision, early action, early decision, and rolling admissions.

Decision Timeline for Rolling Admissions

Some colleges have rolling admissions. This means that they evaluate applications as they receive them. So, if you applied to a rolling admissions school, like the University of Pittsburgh, you could possibly learn of their decision within two to three weeks of receiving all of your information (application, transcript, test scores (if applicable), letters of recommendation, etc.).

When You Could Receive Admissions Responses for Early Action and Early Decision

As the name implies, if you are applying early action or early decision, you will receive your admission decisions earlier than if you applied regular decision. Some schools even break it down into Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2 dates. When you are applying early action, you typically have deadlines between November 1st and January. So, you could hear about your decision before the holidays, but you could also hear sometime in early to mid-January, if you applied Early Action. For example, Northeastern typically sends out their early action admissions decisions towards the end of January.

As for Early Decision, which is binding, the dates are usually very specific as to when the college will respond to you and tell you their admissions decision. Some schools will actually tell you not only the day, but also the time that they are going to release their decisions. Early Decision admission responses typically come out before the holidays.

Dates for Learning Regular Admissions Decisions

If you apply to a college by regular decision, you probably will not receive an admissions response until February or March – even if you applied and submitted everything required during September or October. So if you are really interested in a school, and would like to know an acceptance decision sooner, you should consider applying Early Action, if the school offers this.

As you can see, there is no set admissions decisions timeline. How long it takes for you to receive your admissions decision depends upon the college and how you applied.

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