How Long Does It Take to Get an Admissions Decision?

The applications are in and now the angst begins! How long will it be before you hear back from the colleges you applied to? Around the holidays? January? Spring? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer. When you receive an admissions decision really depends upon the individual school and how you applied, but there are some general timing guidelines. Below, we break down admission decision timing to help calm those nerves.

Admission Decisions Vary by Application Type

you receive an admissions decision hinges in part on the type of application you submitted. By application type, we are referring to regular admission, early action, early decision and rolling admission.

Early Decision

If you applied Early Decision, you will likely hear back in December or January. It really depends upon the school’s application deadline and when they have committed to releasing their Early Decision admissions decisions. Typically the decisions are sent about 4-6 weeks or so after the deadline. Some schools have two Early Decision deadlines: Early Decision I and Early Decision II. For example, American University has an Early Decision I deadline of November 15th. Students who apply by that deadline will receive an admissions decision by December 31st. Their Early Decision II deadline is January 15th and those students will receive a decision by February 15th.

Early Action

Most schools’ Early Action deadlines are in November, typically the 1st or 15th. Another popular Early Action deadline is December 1st. Again, each school’s deadlines vary. The earlier deadline schools usually send out their decisions mid-December – January. But again, every school is different. Even though Northeastern’s Early Action deadline is usually November 1st, they typically don’t release their Early Action decisions until later in January, while The Big Ten schools most of the time let students know before the holidays.

Regular Admission

If you applied Regular Decision you should expect to receive an admissions decision in February or March. Everyone, regardless of when they submitted their Regular Decision application, will receive notification no later than April 1.

Rolling Admission

Some schools use Rolling Admissions, meaning they evaluate applications as they are received rather than waiting to review all applications after a deadline. This means you will receive an admissions decision more quickly. For example, if you applied in September or early October, you may receive a decision by the end of October or even sooner.

Check the School Websites for Admissions Decision Dates

As you can see, when you receive an admissions decision really varies by school. Many colleges will provide when they will release their admissions decisions on their website. The Early Decision schools, especially the highly selective schools, will usually have very specific release dates and times, i.e., December 16th at 6:00 PM. So be sure to check the schools to which you applied.

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