When Do You Have to Accept College Admissions Offers?

So many of my students ask me if there is a deadline for accepting their college admissions offers. When you apply to a number of colleges, the admissions responses will start rolling in, usually staggered, over a period of time. Students typically want to receive all of their responses before accepting any college admissions offer. But, of course, you don’t want to miss any deadlines for doing so. Note that the drop-dead national college acceptance deadline is May 1st of your senior year. This is known as National College Decision Day. The date is the acceptance deadline for all admissions applications. Early decision applicants are bound to attend the school if accepted and are typically required to send in a deposit way in advance of the May 1st national deadline and also have to retract their applications from all other schools that they have applied to.

You Can Accept the Admissions Offer Prior to the May 1st Deadline

While May 1st is the drop-dead deadline, you can accept a college’s admissions offer anytime before then – as long as you’ve been accepted to the school. I would say about 70% of my students, at least those who know which college they’re going to attend, accept their admissions offers before April 1st of their senior year.

How to Accept a College’s Admissions Offer

Once accepted, you have to acknowledge the acceptance with the college. To do so, you will either fill out a paper form sent by the school or note your acceptance under your school’s student portal. Along with your acceptance, you will have to typically send a housing deposit of a few hundred dollars. Each college’s acceptance requirements will be outlined in your admissions letter or email.

College Admissions Acceptance Key Takeaway

The absolute deadline for accepting admission to the college you wish to attend is May 1st of your senior year in high school, also known as National College Decision Day. Again, this deadline does not apply to early decision applications. That is dictated by your early decision agreement that you and 1 of your parents signed when submitting your application.

So, being deferred just means that the decision on your admission is going to be considered again along with the regular decision applications.

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