College Acceptance: Saying Yes or No to a College

By Peterson's Staff updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

Once you have received an admission decision from an institution to which you applied, there are several important steps that must be taken for college acceptance. Don’t delay! You don’t want to miss a deadline for college acceptance and not be able to attend.

Each school will tell you exactly what steps to follow to confirm your acceptance of their admissions decision and how to prepare for the first term. This information will be included with the college admission letter or in materials that will be sent to you shortly thereafter. You must respond with a "yes" or "no" to each positive admission decision from colleges.

College acceptance: The deposit

You will usually be required to submit a financial deposit to the institution that you plan to attend. This will range from $50 to $500 (or even more in a few cases), and it will guarantee your place in the class. Make sure that you don't miss any deadlines. The deposit will "hold your spot" on the roles of the college or university.

Admission decision: The waitlist

You may receive college admission letters that inform you that you are on a "waiting list" or "waitlist." This generally means that the admission office determined that you were qualified for admission, but there was not enough room to admit all qualified applicants. If you are placed on a waitlist at a school that you wish to attend, you will be asked to respond "yes" or "no" to the offer of staying on the waitlist. If you say "yes", you may be offered admission later -- if space becomes available.

If you have been placed on a waitlist at your first-choice school and offered admission by your second-choice, you may wish to consider taking the following steps:

  • Notify to the second-choice school that you accept their offer of admission
  • Submit any required deposit
  • Write to your first-choice school and tell them that you want to remain on the waiting list


If you are offered a place at your first-choice school later, you can withdraw from your place at your second-choice (though you will have to forfeit your deposit) and then attend the institution you most wanted to attend. If you are not offered a place at your first-choice school, you can still attend your second-choice school when the academic term begins.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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