Possible Outcomes of Early Decision and Early Action

If your child applied early decision or early action to a college, he or she may have already started hearing back. So, now you’re probably wondering … what’s next? Well, there are three possible outcomes, rejection, deferral or Acceptance and each comes with different action items. We’ll take a look at each one in this post below.


Early Action: Don’t sweat it! It’s okay to take some time to be sad about the result, but it’s really not the end of the world. Plus, your child could also transfer to their dream school sophomore year if they really apply themselves at whatever college they end up going to.

Early Decision: Not going to sugarcoat it: this stinks. Let your child take some time to be upset; it’s tough being rejected by your top choice. But let them know they’ll be okay. Again, there is the possibility of a transfer, if they really, truly want to. At least the bad news is given now, and your student can channel his or her energy into working on the applications for other schools. It’s all going to work out in the end!


Okay, so this isn’t bad news, necessarily! It’s not great news either, but this isn’t a final decision. What a deferral means is that your child’s application gets sent into the pool with the regular decision applications. That means they’ll have to wait to hear back along with the regular decision applicants in the spring. Waiting is hard, but it will teach them the importance of patience—a life skill everybody needs!

What to do from here? Make sure your child shows some serious interest in the school! Visit, interview with an admissions counselor, get in touch with alumni, write a letter! The school will be more likely to accept students who are truly motivated (and qualified) to attend the school. But, just to be safe, your child should also apply to other schools in case this one doesn’t work out.


Early Action: Congratulations! Your child is going to college (provided all of the finances work out)! If this is a safety school, they can rest easy knowing they will have somewhere to go, no matter what happens with the other colleges they applied to. If this school is one of their top choices, all the better! But, make sure they don’t let their grades drop, as it isn’t unheard of for schools to rescind their offer.

Early Decision: Congratulations! Your student is done with the application process! They shouldn’t be applying to any more schools. As you probably already know, early decision is binding and your student has made a commitment to attend provided there are no unforseen financial or other qualifying circumstances that prevent this. You should contact the financial aid office of the school to discuss any concerns and make sure everything is in order before signing on the bottom line.

The same is true about your child’s grades as mentioned for early action students. They need to continue to hit the books and prepare well for testing through the rest of senior year or the college could rescind their offer. So, now that your child is done applying to colleges, they should take some time to celebrate and relax, but not for too long, they might need to start applying for scholarships!