Not Attending in the Fall? Let Colleges Know

As you’re making your decision about what college you will be attending in the fall, don’t forget to notify the colleges you did not select.

If you were accepted to a college that has other students on the wait list, letting them know you won’t be attending could open up a post for someone else.

There is another reason I push for students to notify the colleges they won’t be attending. When talking about college admissions, most news outlets only discuss the colleges that have low acceptance rates. These colleges typically don’t have to hold their breath for students to notify them that they will be attending in the fall. What is usually left out of the media is the stories about the colleges that are struggling to reach their enrollment goals.

Why am I mentioning this?

As I’ve mentioned before, I worked in college admissions for some time. The last college I was employed was a college that never knew if we’d reach our enrollment goals. We weren’t alone either; hundreds of colleges were like us. When May 1st came around, we had quite a few students that had sent in their deposits. But, we were hoping for more… and needed more to reach our enrollment goals.

If we had not heard back from a student by May 1st, we would start to contact them. Initially I would start with an email asking if they had made their decision. I’d usually get a few emails back letting me know they had decided to attend another college. Eventually I would make phone calls to my students, and would continue leaving messages because most students wouldn’t answer my calls. Deep down, I knew that most of those students that had not replied to us weren’t attending. But, to the administration, they thought we still had a chance and the Admissions Office was to continue contacting the students until we heard back from them.

When I did get students on the phone, it would be awkward, to say the least. I know students viewed these calls sort of like a break-up. I, on the other hand, just wanted confirmation either way. They didn’t hurt my feelings that they weren’t attending my college – I think they forgot that I once attended college and had to turn down other colleges too.

I mentioned all of this because you really should let colleges know that you won’t be attending in the Fall. Most colleges make it easy for you! If you were mailed an acceptance letter, there was probably a reply card included. Just send it back in the mail saying you won’t be attending. If you received your acceptance letter via email, there is probably a link you can go to let them know you won’t be attending. And, if you don’t have either of the options above, you can email either your admission counselor or the general admission’s email to let them know you won’t be attending. And then it will be done – no awkward phone calls or emails!


2 Comments on “Not Attending in the Fall? Let Colleges Know

  1. If I don’t attend at the moment will my position still be there any time I want to join

    • Probably not. You will have to check with the college to find out what their procedure is for postponing your enrollment. Some colleges will allow you to just submit a form saying you plan to attend the next term or year. If you do this, they may say you cannot take any college classes during your time not attending. Other colleges may require you to reapply if you want to be considered for another term. So, long story short – you have to check with the college to learn about their procedures. Good luck!

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