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Waiting for University Offers: Why You Shouldn’t Worry 

Written by CB Community

After making a university application, the wait for a response can seem to take forever, and the truth is it can take a while.

Universities take between 24 hours and four months to reply to applications.

Furthermore, different students will receive offers at different times. Some receive their offers within hours, while others wait weeks for a response. Some institutions will not even acknowledge your application, which leaves students in the nerve-wracking state of ‘not knowing.’

The wait inspires a rollercoaster of emotions in a person that includes anxiety and worry. People handle this situation differently. Some result in futile attempts, like calling their admissions counselor daily asking for their application status.

However, the best advice we can provide to you during this period is to ‘relax.’ If you met all the requirements during your application, you don’t need to take any action unless they contact you.

What Factors Influence How Long University Decisions Take?

There are different reasons why universities will take different times to provide offers. As mentioned, some students receive offers in hours while others find themselves having to wait even months.

Some of the common factors that contribute to this are:

Application Deadlines

Some institutes start processing deadlines after the January deadline. In this case, the institution will take some time due to the vast number of applications they have to review.

Course Popularity

Some courses receive more applications than others. For example, social sciences and history will have more applicants than engineering courses. As a result, it might take longer to review and reply to the thousands of applications.


Highly competitive courses receive many outstanding applications. Narrowing down the applicants to only the best takes time.

What to Do While Waiting for Your College Admission Letter

Since all the mentioned factors are out of your control, you can only wait. But, that is easier said than done, which is why we have provided a list of things you can do while you wait.

Since there is no way you can speed up the process, focus on what you can control. While you wait for the decisions from the university, here are things we recommend.

Remain Confident and Think Less

After submitting your application, you might have doubts or feel that you should have done some things differently, like having a college essay editing service proofread your paper. Second-guessing the application is quite common, and it might get to a point where someone wishes they could go back in time and change something.

Since that’s not possible, you should not dwell on such thoughts. Be confident in your application and the essay you submitted. Believe that if you were meant to go to that particular college, you will receive your acceptance letter.

Some things that will help you think less about the application include:

  • Getting some exercise
  • Trying a new hobby
  • Finding other distractions

Stay Focused on Your Studies

It’s easy for students to become complacent once they have sent their university applications. It could hurt your high school grades and, in turn, your future endeavors.

The reason is, even if a college accepts you and then your grades begin slipping, it is within the institution’s right to revert the decision. So, stay focused and avoid senioritis.

Regularly Check Your EMail and Mail

There might be an instance where admission offices or the financial aid board require more information before sending their decisions.

Checking your e-mail and mail often will ensure you are in a position to respond in a timely fashion.

Check Your Voicemails Too

Sometimes, the selection personnel might try to reach you via the phone. Some people ignore calls from unknown numbers.

You can choose not to answer the calls and instead listen to the voicemails just in case the admissions board calls for some important reason.

Stop Contacting the Admissions Offices Frequently

Repeatedly contacting the admissions board does not help in this situation. So there is no need to do it.

It can be incredibly tempting when some of your classmates start receiving their responses while yours hasn’t arrived yet.

Remember that universities have to sort out thousands of applications, and maybe they have just not gotten to yours yet. So, remain patient.

Apply for Financial Aid

If you haven’t already done it, you should take the time to apply for financial aid while waiting for the decision. Submit all the required documents needed by colleges and keep track of the deadlines put in place.

The benefits of applying for financial aid early include:

  • Financial aid can run out
  • Allows you to concentrate on other vital tasks for college
  • Gives you a head start on your scholarship search

Research the Institutions

You are likely to have already researched some universities during the application process, but that doesn’t mean you know everything about them. Keep conducting your research on the institutions since it will help you with your final decision once the time comes.

Enjoy Your Senior Year

With only a few months of high school left, you should try and make the most of it.

Many high schools have a lot of fun activities to partake during these last few months. You might have been too busy during the fall to get into them, but you have more free time in the final months.

So, have some fun, attend games, prepare for prom or find an activity you wanted to do but didn’t have time for it. Just remember to maintain your grades in the process.

Be Prepared for Other Outcomes

After sending their application, most students believe they will receive either an acceptance or a rejection. Other outcomes also exist that many individuals don’t prepare for. They include being waitlisted and deferred.


Being deferred means that the institution has not yet completed reviewing your file, and the selection committee has postponed the decision to a later date.

There are two types of deferrals. The first might occur if you applied under the early decision plan and the selection panel decides to push you back into the regular pool.

It might be frustrating, but it is also advantageous. When accepted through the regular decision while in the regular pool, students aren’t obligated to attend like they would in the case of an early decision. So, you get the freedom to consider other college offers.

The second occurs when you apply through regular decisions, but the selection board requires more information to decide on your application. Usually, the board will request more test scores and grades. If it receives the requested information, you might be admitted early.


With waitlisting, the college has already gone through your application and has decided to hold your admission and put you on a waiting list.

One important thing to note is that colleges don’t have to admit students from their waitlist. Furthermore, being waitlisted is not a decision that can be changed by providing new information.

If you are placed on a waitlist, research whether the school has previously admitted anyone from the waitlist. Also, start thinking about your backup instead of only relying on admission from the waitlist.

Singing Off

Once your application is out of your hands, you don’t need to be anxious anymore because it is out of your control. All you can do is wait for the verdict while you complete high school.

You can try and enjoy this time while you await your answer.

Remember, no news is good news. The university you have applied to will respond eventually, and the wait does not mean that your application was unsuccessful. Just be patient and focus on the other areas of your life.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.