Yes, No, Maybe So? The Different Types of College “Acceptances”

Yes, No, Maybe So?

The Different Types of College “Acceptances”

The big day is finally here! Depending on the university, you’ve either been anxiously checking your mailbox or refreshing your inbox. Finally, you’ll receive your college acceptance or rejection! Well… maybe. Did you know that there are a few answers you (or your child) might get other than a simple yes or no? We’re explaining those alternate scenarios so you can be prepared if your decision letter looks a bit different than you envisioned.


Maybe- we’ll get back to you.

Aside from an outright acceptance or rejection, getting put on a waitlist (or being deferred) is the most common response a student may receive. Colleges often have a difficult time estimating how many students will accept their admission offers, and the waitlists are used as a backup system. Schools will typically start admitting students from the waitlist after the May 1st enrollment decision due date.

If you’ve been deferred from a school, there are a few steps to take next. We’ve written all about them here!


Yes, if you can start early!

A school might offer you “summer acceptance,” which means you’re in if and only if you agree to start the summer before the rest of the incoming class. Additionally, you’ll need to complete a required program prior to the fall semester, which may or may not be for credit. Schools often offer this route for students who show promise but may need a bit more time to acclimate to campus and the rigors of higher education.

If you receive summer acceptance and it’s your first choice school, it is an excellent option. Work hard all summer, and you’ll be a freshman at your dream school come fall!


Yes, if you can start late!

Conversely, a school might offer you a “spring semester acceptance.” In other words, you’re in as long as you can wait to start until the spring semester! Fall semesters are big money-makers for colleges, as new students flood the campus and fill all the dorms. By spring, some students have decided not to return, some students are abroad, and so on.

It’s win-win for you and the school: you’re accepted, and you’re starting right when they need new students on campus!


Yes, if you prove yourself first!

Many public universities and some private universities will offer “conditional acceptances.” Typically, this means proving yourself at a community college before they’ll let you transfer to their institution. When a school is on the fence about a student – if they’re unsure how the student will handle college courses – they’ll give the student a chance to prove themselves.

This is a good option for you if you have your heart set on graduating from a certain school. Work hard and maintain a solid GPA at a community college, and you’ll ultimately get to transfer to and graduate from your top choice school!


Yes, if you choose a different major!

Our Texan students probably understand this one! Some schools require you to apply directly to a major-  the University of Texas at Austin is one of those, and we’ve talked all about it! Some majors are more competitive than others, and you may be told to choose your second or third choice major instead.

Unless you have your heart absolutely set on that one particular major, this might be a perfectly fine choice for you. Otherwise, you may choose to study your first choice major at another institution.

As you can see, there are more variations on the traditional college acceptance – and they’re becoming more and more common. Deciding to accept an “admission offer with a catch” is a personal decision, and one that should be weighed carefully against your other options.