Checklist If You Applied Early and Haven't Heard Anything

Don't panic! You've got this.
December 17, 2016

You applied early and the notification deadline has come and gone and... silence. Ugh.

Here's what you should (and shouldn't) do to move things along.

1. Confirm that your application was received and deemed complete. Only complete applications get read and evaluated. If your application wasn’t complete, do what you need to do for your application to be complete in time for the Regular Decision round.

2. If your application was complete, find out if decisions have been released by the college in question. Before you call the college and ask, do a little research on your own. Applicants aren’t all that silent when decisions come out, and the colleges often also post on social media when they’ve released their early decisions. If decision have been released, you need to take action ASAP and call the admissions office.

During this phone call, you have one mission: to get the information necessary to resolve whatever is keeping you from getting your decision. 

Notice that we’re not saying that your purpose is to get the decision. Why? Mostly because admissions offices generally have policies that prohibit sharing a decision over the telephone. The quickest and best way to learn what you need to do to actually get your decision is to talk to someone at the college. Here’s a script you can use:

“I’m calling because I submitted my early decision on [such and such a date] and I understand you sent decision letters/emails out, but I haven’t received my letter/email [or when I log in, there is no decision posted for me].  Can you help me figure out why I haven’t gotten my decision yet?”  

No matter what they say the problem is, stay calm. Do not freak out. You’re still trying to make a good impression. Take a breath. Assuming you had received a confirmation from the college notifying you that your application was complete, you reply politely:

“Wow there must be some mistake. I have the notification confirming that my application was received and went complete. What should I do?” The admissions officer will then walk you through what to do and the admissions office should bend over backwards to correct their mistake.

3. If decisions have not been released, sit tight and be patient. If colleges are late getting their decisions out, that means the admissions office is swamped, and calls from eager applicants will only delay the process further.

Anna Ivey is one of the founders of An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the book How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.

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