Congratulations! You have spent a vast amount of time searching the Web, pouring over books, catalogs, and brochures, visiting campuses, preparing for and taking standardized tests, gathering recommendations from teachers, writing and rewriting your application essay, and keeping up your grades—all in the name of going to college. Now you get to wait for that envelope that will one day arrive in the mail and begin to set your course for the future.
While sometimes "good" news arrives in a big envelope and "bad" news arrives in a small envelope, you just don't know until you open it! So, on the day that envelope arrives, go ahead, take a deep breath, and rip into it with confidence! Here's what you'll find.
The first sentence usually tells it all—either the school is happy to extend an offer of admission or the school regrettably is unable to extend that offer at this time. Although at that moment that's all you really want to know, keep reading! An acceptance letter from a college often has some instructions you'll need to follow, should you choose to enroll at that school.
Look for deadlines for acceptance. Look for additional forms to fill out and return. Most likely, your final high school transcript will need to be sent to your new college—look for a due date for this and work with your high school guidance counselor to ensure it happens. Deposits may be required—make sure you parents are aware of deadlines. The acceptance letter may also include information about housing, meal plans and freshmen orientation.
While all this information may be included with your acceptance letter, it may not; in that case, the school will usually follow up after receiving confirmation of your intention to attend. Financial aid information usually comes in a separate from the acceptance letter.
Hopefully your envelope contains exciting news. Just be sure to take some time to calm down and read and reread, especially with your parents, all the material your college has provided. You certainly do not want to miss a deadline or overlook a requirement that will jeopardize your enrollment! Remember too that should you have any questions, your college will be happy to answer them, after all, you're part of the family now! Congratulations!
SAMPLE ACCEPTANCE LETTER:
Date: January 21, 2004
2000 Lenox Drive
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Dear Ms. Applicant:
I am very pleased to inform you of your acceptance to USA University as a freshman for Fall 2004. You have been admitted to the Academic Center for Entering Students (ACES) at the USA University Main Campus.
The ACES program is designed for students who are not yet established in the academic major (see enclosed description). As an ACES student, you will be encouraged to explore a wide range of academic majors available at the University. Through individual advising and collaboration with all of the USA University Schools, ACES advisors will work to connect you with majors that fit well with your academic strengths and future goals.
We are confident that you will continue your high level of academic performance throughout the remainder of this year. This offer of admission is contingent upon your continued success. The Undergraduate Admissions Office requires that an official copy of your final transcript be forwarded upon completion of your high school course work. Please review carefully the enclosed materials that pertain to required deposits, deadlines, and other critical information.
Best wishes and congratulations!
Director of Admissions