Admissions

Admission Decision Dates

We’re one third of the way through March. This third month of the year is known for some highly anticipated milestones. First, spring arrives on the 20th. Some Northern Hemisphere areas have already seen springlike temperatures. For most people (except those with significant pollen allergies), the blossoms and fresh air of springtime is something to eagerly anticipate.

Of course, for most of us, Daylight Savings Time deploys in March. That means it’s darker later in the morning and lighter later in the evening. Technically, we’re not “saving” anything, but those extra hours of daylight after dinner are nice for domestic chores and getting away from the TV.

One of the most important March milestones for high school seniors and their families is finding out about college applications. Decision Day is spread across the month, depending on the college and decisions can arrive in the form of multiple media — by email, snail mail, or both.


Some fortunate applicants may have already received a so-called “likely letter,” which is a kind of advanced acceptance notification sent to especially attractive candidates whom colleges want among their student bodies. I’ve written about likely letters before.

If you’re a follower of the College Confidential discussion forum, you’re probably up to date on when your college(s) will send out decisions. If not, you can follow this thread, which details a large number of schools’ decision release dates.

 

If you prefer a quicker lookup, scan the following alphabetic listing to find your school:

All Ivies: (2016 March 31; 2015: March 31 at 5 pm EDT)

American: (2016: by April 1 (find out release date on 3/7) ; 2015: mailed week of March 16)

Amherst: (2016: First week of April ; 2015: online March 27 at 4:30 pm EDT, some emailed March 20)

Babson: (2015: March 16 at 3 pm EDT)

Bard: (2015: online March 28 at 12 pm EDT)

Barnard: (2015: emailed March 26 at 7 pm EDT)

Bates: (2015: emailed March 21 at 12 pm EDT)

Bentley: (2015: emailed March 20 evening)

Berklee College of Music: (2015: emailed March 31)

Boston College: (2016: week of March 13 ; 2015: emailed March 19 at 6-10 pm EDT)

Boston University: (2015: rolling online March 21 at 8 am EDT; 2014: March 22)

Bowdoin: (2016: April 1; 2015: emailed March 20 after 7 pm EDT)

Brandeis: (2016: April 1; 2015: online March 19 evening)

Bryn Mawr: (2015: online March 25 at 4 pm EDT; 2014: online March 25)

Bucknell: (2016: March 25; 2015: online March 27 at 12 am EDT)

Cal Poly SLO: (2016: rolling from Feb 17 in portal; 2015: rolling February 26)

Caltech: (2015: March 13 at 7 pm PDT; 2014: March 13)

Carleton: (2015: mailed March 18, online March 28 at 5 pm CDT; 2014: mailed March 19, online March 25)

Carnegie Mellon: (2015: mailed March 25, online March 28 at 12 am EDT; 2014: mailed March 24, online March 28)

Case Western: (2015: March 14 at 12 pm EDT; 2014: March 15 at 12 pm EDT)

Chapman: (2015: emailed March 20 at 6 pm PDT)

Claremont McKenna: (2015: online March 25 at 5 pm PDT; 2014: March 21 at 5 pm PDT)

Clark University: (2015: February 28)

Colby: (2015: online March 20 evening, mailed March 20; 2014: March 22)

Colgate: (2015: mailed March 24; 2014: March 25)

Colorado College: (2015: online March 16 at 4 pm MDT)

Connecticut College: (2015: online March 25 at 7 pm EDT; 2014: March 26 at 8 pm EDT)

CUNY 4-Year Campuses: (2015: mid-February; 2014: mid-February)

Davidson: (2016: March 17 9p ET; 2015: March 24 at 9 pm EDT; 2014: March 22 at 10 am EDT)

Dickinson: (2015: online March 23 afternoon; 2014: March 20)

Drexel: (2015: online March 24 and later)

Duke: (2016: March 25; 2015: online March 26 at 7 pm EDT)

Elon: (2015: online March 15 at 12 am EDT; 2014: March 18)

Emerson: (2015: online March 17 at 2 pm EDT; 2014: online March 14)

Emory: (2015: March 26 at 6 pm EDT; 2014: March 27 at 6 pm EDT)

Flagler: (2015: March 31)

Florida State: (2015: March 18)

Florida Tech: (2015: rolling)

Fordham: (2015: emailed & online March 24 at 4 pm EDT; 2014: emailed March 24)

Franklin & Marshall: (2015: online March 24 at 4:30 pm EDT; 2014: mailed prior to March 22)

Furman: (2015: online March 28 at 5 pm EDT; 2014: April 1)

George Mason: (2015: late March, some February 25 and later)

Georgetown: (2016: April 1; 2015: mailed March 27, emailed for int’l March 27)

George Washington: (2016: March 24; 2015: online March 27 at 5 pm EDT; 2014: online March 28 at 6 pm EDT)

Georgia Tech: (2016: March 12; 2015: March 14)

Gettysburg: (2015: mailed March 18)

Gonzaga: (2015: mailed March 9, online earlier)

Grinnell: (2015: March 20 at 5 pm CDT; 2014: March 22)

Hamilton College: (2016: March 25; 2015: March 27; 2014: March 27)

Harvey Mudd: (2015: online March 20 at 5 pm PDT; 2014: March 21 at 5 pm PDT)

Haverford: (2015: mailed March 24; 2014: mailed March 25)

Holy Cross: (2015: online March 20 at 4 pm EDT; 2014: March 21)

James Madison: (2015: online March 23 at 7:30 pm EDT)

Johns Hopkins: (2016: March 18; 2015: March 27 at 3 pm EDT)

Kalamazoo College: (2015: late March; 2014: emailed mid-March)

Kenyon: (2015: mailed March 20, online March 20 at 7 pm EDT; 2014: mailed March 18)

Lafayette: (2015: mailed March 21; 2014: mailed March 24)

Lehigh: (2016: March 30; 2015: online March 26 at 9 am EDT; 2014: March 25 at 5 pm EDT)

Lewis & Clark: (2015: emailed March 20 after 5 pm PDT; 2014: emailed March 21)

Loyola Marymount: (2015: emailed early February and later)

Macalester: (2016: March 30; 2015: online March 15 at 5 pm EDT)

MIT: (2016: March 14; 2015: March 14 at 9:26 am EDT)

Miami University (Ohio): (2015: mid-March; 2014: online March 15)

Middlebury: (2016: March 19; 2015: March 21 at 8 am EDT)

Mount Holyoke: (2015: online March 19 late afternoon; 2014: March 21)

Muhlenberg: (2015: mailed 2nd and 3rd weeks of March, earliest March 12)

New School: (2015: March 25)

NYU: (2015: emailed March 27 at 1 am EDT; 2014: emailed March 28 throughout the day)

Northeastern: (2015: online March 17 after 3 pm EDT; 2014: March 18)

Northwestern: (2015: emailed & online March 23 at 5 pm CDT; 2014: emailed March 20)

Notre Dame: (2015: mailed March 20; 2014: mailed March 20)

Oberlin: (2015: emailed & mailed March 26 at 4 pm EDT; 2014: online March 26 at 5 pm EDT, mailed by March 28)

Occidental: (2016 March 22; 2015: online March 21 at 12 pm PDT; 2014: online March 22 at 12 pm PDT)

Oregon State: (2015: mailed March 9)

Pepperdine: (2015: emailed March 20 late afternoon; 2014: March 15)

Pitzer: (2015: mailed for domestic & emailed for int’l March 20; 2014: mailed March 21)

Pomona: (2015: online March 20 at 5 pm PDT; 2014: mailed March 21)

Providence: (2015: March 20)

Reed: (2016: April 1; 2015: emailed March 27 at 5 pm PDT)

RPI: (2016: March 12; 2015: March 14 at 7 pm EDT)

Rice: (2016: By April 1; 2015: online March 27 at 4 pm CDT)

RIT: (2015: rolling February 28)

Roosevelt: (2015: emailed March 1 and later)

Rutgers: (2016: February 28; 2015: February 28)

St. Lawrence: (2015: mailed March 20)

Saint Mary’s College of CA: (2014: mid-March)

St. Olaf: (2015: around March 15, some earlier)

San Diego State: (2015: mid-February through March; 2014: early March)

San Jose State: (2014: February 21)

Santa Clara: (2015: mailed March 16, online March 17 evening)

Sarah Lawrence: (2015: online March 13)

Scripps: (2015: emailed & online March 25 at 5 pm PDT; 2014: March 21)

Skidmore: (2015: mailed March 24; 2014: mailed March 24)

Smith: (2015: emailed March 27 at 4:15 pm EDT; 2014: March 21 after 6 pm EDT)

SMU: (2015: mailed March 31)

Stanford: (2016: April 1; 2015: emailed March 27 at 3 pm PDT)

Stevens Tech: (2015: emailed March 27 at 4:30 pm EDT)

Swarthmore: (2015: online March 26 at 6 pm EDT; 2014: mailed prior to March 28)

Syracuse: (2015: emailed March 20 and later, some late February)

TCNJ: (2015: mailed early March in batches)

Trinity College (CT): (2015: emailed & online March 23 at 4 pm EDT; 2014: March 21)

Tufts: (2015: online March 30 at 3 pm EDT; 2014: March 28 at 2 pm EDT)

Tulane: (2015: online March 25 afternoon)

Union College: (2015: March 21; 2014: March 22)

UC Berkeley: (2016: March 24; 2015: March 26 at 8:30 pm PDT)

UC Davis: (2016: March 15; 2015: March 13 at 3 pm PDT)

UC Irvine: (2015: March 17 in batches, high stat in mid-February; 2014: March 17-21 in batches)

UCLA: (2015: March 20 at 6:15 pm PDT; 2014: March 21 after 5 pm)

UC Merced: (2015: throughout March in batches; 2014: throughout March in batches)

UC Riverside: (2016: rolling March 1; 2015: throughout March in batches, high stat in Jan & Feb; 2014: throughout Feb & Mar in batches)

UC San Diego: (2016: March 15; 2015: March 13 at 12 pm PDT)

UC Santa Barbara: (2016: March 22; 2015: March 16 at 3 pm PDT)

UC Santa Cruz: (2015: March 15 at 12 am PDT; 2014: March 15)

U Chicago: (2015: March 13 at 5 pm EDT; 2014: March 14 late afternoon)

U Connecticut: (2015: mailed February 27)

U Delaware: (2015: rolling late February)

U Denver: (2015: mid-March, some March 3 and later)

U Florida: (2015: February 13 at 6 pm EDT; 2014: February 14)

U Georgia: (2015: March 20)

U Illinois UC: (2016: February 5; 2015: February 13)

U Mass Amherst: (2015: mailed early March in batches)

U Miami: (2015: mid-April, some online March 11 and later; 2014: mid-April, some earlier)

U Michigan: (2015: rolling)

UNC Chapel Hill: (2015: online March 27 at 4 pm EDT; 2014: March 28)

U North Florida: (2015: rolling)

U Pitt: (2015: rolling)

U Richmond: (2015: mailed March 25; 2014: mailed March 21)

U Rochester: (2015: mailed March 1-31 in batches, online March 20; 2014: mailed March 7-31 in batches)

U San Diego: (2015: online February 23 through March; 2014: February 24)

U San Francisco: (2015: mailed March 12; 2014: first batch February 26, second batch March 12)

USC: (2015: mailed March 24, online March 27 at 12 am PDT; 2014: mailed March 26, online March 29 at 12 am)

UT Austin: (2015: March 1)

U Vermont: (2015: February 12 and March 13)

U Virginia: (2015: online March 20 at 5 pm EDT; 2014: March 21)

U Washington: (2015: mailed March 13, some online March 19; 2014: March 15-31)

U West Florida: (2015: March 21)

U Wisconsin Madison: (2015: online March 20 and later)

Vanderbilt: (2016: April 1; 2015: online March 22 at ~3 pm CDT;)

Vassar: (2015: online March 25 at ~5 pm EDT; 2014: March 26 at 5 pm EDT)

Villanova: (2015: March 19 at 5 pm EDT; 2014: March 20 evening)

Virginia Tech: (2016: By April 1; 2015: first batch February 20, second batch March 20)

Wagner: (2014: mailed prior to March 20)

Wake Forest: (2015: mailed March 25; 2014: mailed March 25)

Washington & Lee: (2015: online March 27 at 8 pm EDT; 2014: March 28)

Wash U in St L: (2016: By April 1; 2015: online March 9 at 5 pm EDT)

Wellesley: (2015: online March 24 at 5 pm EDT; 2014: March 25)

Wesleyan U: (2016: March 25; 2015: online March 27 at 3 pm EDT, some emailed March 13)

Wheaton (IL): (2015: emailed March 15; 2014: mailed March 18)

Wheaton (MA): (2015: online via link March 15 at 3 pm EDT)

Whitman: (2015: March 20 at 3 pm PDT; 2014: online March 26)

William & Mary: (2015: emailed March 24 at 9 pm EDT; 2014: emailed March 26 evening)

Williams: (2015: emailed & online March 25 after 7 pm EDT; 2014: online March 26 at 6 pm EDT)

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That notification-date thread is dynamic, so keep checking to see if there have been any changes of corrections to the dates and information posted there.

 

Speaking of “fat” envelopes, keep a few things in mind. The theory states that if you get a fat letter (or email; I’m trying to imagine an obese electronic notification) from a college to which you’ve applied, you’re in.

If it’s skinny, you’re out. As with all generalities, however, there are exceptions. One of America’s most prestigious universities at one time sent out a small, skinny envelope with its good news of “Yes!” There may be other skinny “yes” letters (or emails) out there too.

The thinking is that a college will want its admitted students to fill out a bunch of housing forms and so forth that are included with the letters of admission. That’s why admit letters are alleged to be fat. The skinny ones offer consolation along with rejection and require only a single sheet of paper. Some schools send good news in a thin envelope and send all the forms in a separate mailing. So, when you pull a skinny envelope from your mailbox, don’t abandon ship. Read it first. You may be surprised.

Waiting is the hard part, though. What can you do while waiting for the mailman or your email program to deliver? If you mailed your application in January, you’ve been waiting almost three months now. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to map out a few contingency plans, you know, the old “If I don’t get into college A, I’ll make the most of college B.” If you have a good set of contingencies, you’ll be able to make the most of your final acceptance situation.

If you’ve done your application planning properly, you won’t be shut out. Ideally, you’ll be offered admission by all the schools to which you’ve applied. That gives you an advantage in dealing with financial aid offers. If you’ve been accepted to several strong schools, you may be able to find out which one is willing to provide the greatest financial incentive for you to attend.

Regardless of how your fat vs. skinny envelope/email drama plays out, retain your perspective. Reality tends to dwell somewhere between the extremes of elation and disappointment.

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Of course, one outcome of March college decisions that you won’t want to confront is the dreaded waitlist. I’ve also written about waitlists here. One important thought about waitlists is this:

… some words to the wise. Keep in mind that colleges are always trying to stack the deck in their favor. Waitlists generally serve two main purposes: (1) an insurance policy to guarantee that schools will never have an empty bed in any dorm, and (2) (sometimes) as a buffer to ease the pain of outright rejection.

Princeton University’s former (now late) admissions dean, Fred Hargadon, once said that he populated his waitlists because Princeton received far too may qualified applicants. He offered that the waitlist was his way of saying, “You were certainly good enough to get in, but we just didn’t have enough room for you.”

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My March 2016 wish for all of you, as it is every year: May your decisions be clearly “Yes!” or “No.” May none of them be “Wait.”

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Be sure to check out all my college-related articles at College Confidential.