52 Weeks to College: Week 48

When Will I Hear Something From Colleges?
December 6, 2021

We know it’s frustrating while you’re waiting for your admissions decisions. This week, we’ll talk about when you can expect to hear and also help you refocus your energy on things within your control – like your schoolwork!



  • Do a quick check of when you are supposed to hear from your early colleges.

  • Return your focus on your schoolwork so you can finish the term with great grades. Check out last week’s post for a refresh.

  • Get all your financial aid forms as close to finished as possible. Delay any that aren’t due before your holiday break so you can stay focused on schoolwork.

  • Respond to any invitations for interviews and interview. See Week 45 for tips.


1. Check your email, voicemail, texts, and snail mail for any communications that relate to applying to college. Read them and take whatever action is necessary.

2. Update your parents about what you’re doing. This regular communication will work wonders in your relationship with your parents during this stress-filled year


1. Finding out when and how you will be notified of a college’s admissions decision is usually a quick and easy research task.

Start by READING the emails that the college has sent you and CHECKING your admissions portal on the college’s website. Very often, the college either tells you or posts their notification dates. Some even give you real time updates.

If there’s no joy there, then try this simple Google search: “early notification date admission [name of college here]” Scan the results looking for the most current information and give preference to information that is posted by the college itself because that is the most reliable. If you can’t find anything from the college, then and only then should you scour the discussion boards. Fair warning: the discussion boards are usually full of anxious applicants like yourself who mostly know nothing for sure. So take anything you find there with a BIG grain of salt.

2. You’ll probably know before the FAT ENVELOPE comes.

The majority of colleges will either notify you by email or post your admissions decision on your applicant portal on the day that the envelopes go out via snail mail. There are, however, a few colleges that still notify ONLY by snail mail and for those, the Fat Envelope is what you want to see!

Since you should be getting your decision online, there are a couple of things to do to get prepared:

  • Make sure that email from the college is not going to your SPAM folders. If you find anything from the college there, then be sure to look there on a regular basis, especially on the days around the time you expect to be notified.

  • If the college has given you a link and log in information for an applicant portal or website where you can find out the college’s admissions decision, test it before the big day. Your meltdown when you encounter technical difficulties on decision day will be EPIC. Guaranteed. So test your log in now and avoid that drama. Don’t log in every five minutes, though. Colleges can see your log in history if they want to, so keep that in mind.

3. When the FAT ENVELOPE arrives, take the time to read everything inside it. There will be important information about deposit deadlines, housing, and financial aid. You don’t want to miss any of this critical information. Unfortunately, there are some colleges out there that will assume you’re not enrolling and give your spot away if you fail to turn in the housing form, for example. (This has actually happened.)

Now back to studying – remember to finish strong!!!

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

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