Does an Invitation to an On-Campus Program Mean I Got In?

Question: I just received an invitation from my first-choice college to attend a program on campus in March. The program is very clearly described as FOR ADMITTED STUDENTS ONLY but I haven't been officially accepted yet. So should I assume I got in?

“The Dean" hears about situations like yours somewhat regularly and they make me a bit nuts. The college admissions process is stressful enough without confusing students by sending out such cart-before-the-horse invitations.

But, yes (and yay!) … if the invitation states that the program is only for admitted students, then you are among them.

I have even heard of seniors receiving invitations to springtime on-campus programs that DON'T say that they're only for accepted students but will include some vaguer language like, “Only 5 percent of our applicant pool is invited to the Fred Flintstone symposium, and we hope you will attend." So, duh, this sure sounds like an acceptance to me but how about a little more transparency?.

There are plenty of on-campus programs aimed at seniors that do NOT mean that the applicant has been accepted. But these are usually much earlier in the school year and never right on the eve of the notification date.

So my advice for you is to call your college (or ask your counselor to do it for you) to confirm your acceptance before you mark the campus-program date on your calendar (or book hotels and flights). Any time a senior is invited to campus just before the verdicts are handed down, you can bet the mortgage money that the student is on the “In" list, but you're wise to double check anyway before you make your travel plans.

Congrats on your good news … confounding as it may be!