Admissions

Three Reasons to Wait After a Dream School Acceptance

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You got accepted into your dream school. Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off. It may seem tempting to pounce on the opportunity to attend your dream college once that big envelope has arrived in the mail. However, there are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to wait to hear back from some of the other institutions you applied to.

What If Another School Offers You A scholarship?


Sure, you may have gotten into your dream school, but what kind of financial aid did they offer you? There’s a chance that might not be everything you’ve dreamt of. If that’s the case, there’s a huge benefit to comparing offers from a few other schools before making a commitment anywhere. Sometimes a decision can come down to cost, and a third- or fourth-choice school can quickly become a first-choice school if enough financial assistance is offered. (Your parents would probably agree with me on that!)

Moreover, while schools don’t advertise it, financial aid is often negotiable. A scholarship offer from one school could give you leverage in persuading your first-choice school to offer something comparable. (You can find more tips for negotiating a financial aid offer in our book Paying for College.)

Dreams Can Change, And So Can Your Dream School

Having multiple acceptances gives you an entirely different decision than the one you made during the application process. You’ve had time away from the pen and paper of it all, and perhaps your find yourself now wanting different experiences. Forget about dreams and think about reality: Maybe a second-choice school has a better study abroad program, or perhaps it offers a program you’ve decided is more up your alley. Waiting until you have all of your actual options in front of you in the form of acceptance letters will give you the most clarity when making a decision.

Respect the Time You’ve Invested 

It took a lot of time, energy and work to put your applications together. Don’t dismiss all that time you spent researching colleges, either in-person or online, or the visits to your high school advisor’s office. You didn’t rush into any decisions then, so I don’t recommend rushing into any now solely because your dream school said “Yes!” first.

Instead, when that heavy acceptance letter lands in your mailbox, take some time to celebrate (and celebrate you should — it’s a great achievement, after all!). Then, I suggest that you take time before saying “Yes!” in return. When you’re accepted, you’ll be given a deadline for your response — be aware of that timeframe while gathering all of the information you need to make the best decision for you the first time around.

With your acceptances rolling in, now is the time to focus your research on just those schools, and our books The Best 385 Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges can help refresh your memory on why you were drawn to them in the first place. Use guides like these to weigh the pros and cons between each school you’re applied to and make your decision from there.