Waiting, Types of Letters, Admitted, Wait-Listed or Shut-Out: We’ve Got It Covered

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* Update: Since this post was written, many schools now notify families by email or use the Ravenna system for parents to log in to find out the school’s admissions decision. 

Here’s a round-up of our some of most popular posts on selecting a school if your child is admitted, what to do if you child is wait-listed, being denied admission and hiring an educational consultant to help get your child off the wait-list. Please note that Porcha Dodson, Beyond The Brochure co-author tells us that schools only use email to send good news acceptance letters. Most schools don’t send wait-list or declined admission emails. Also, we’ve head from several sources that PS#1 Elementary School’s admissions director Andrea Roth, resigned this week.

Waiting For Admissions Letters by Jenny Heitz

Various Types of Admissions Letters by Kim Hamer

Good News: How To Choose

0/X: What’s Next When You Don’t Get In?

Confronting Rejection: When Your All Isn’t Enough

Tips For If Your Child Is Wait-Listed

Hiring An Educational Consultant To Go From Wait-Listed To Accepted

Choosing A School: Every School Tells A Story Part 1

Choosing A School: Every School Tells A Story Part 2 by Jenny Heitz

How Could Choosing A School Be So Hard? What I Did/Did Not Expect About The Willows School

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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at csimon2007@gmail.com

34 thoughts to “Waiting, Types of Letters, Admitted, Wait-Listed or Shut-Out: We’ve Got It Covered”

  1. Thanks for this post! Does anyone know the answer to the million dollar question…. When do the emails get sent? Today or tomorrow the 24 th??

  2. Porcha told me the emails get sent as soon as admissions staff have them ready to go. Today usually, but could take more time if they are running behind schedule. Thanks for the question!

    1. For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard of anyone receiving an email on Friday. My friends who have applied in previous years always received acceptance emails on Saturday (generally in the morning).

  3. Now what to do? Our family has applied to five schools and we have applied for financial aid at all five. Full tuition is simply not an option for us at this time, unfortunately. I was thrilled and excited to check my inbox this morning and find an acceptance e-mail from one of our top choices! However, it stated clearly that there would be no aid available with the offer for enrollment. Since it is not possible for us to pay full tuition (unless we wanted to default on our mortgage :)), what should we do next? Are they feeling us out to see if we can pinch and scrap it together? (which we cannot.) Can we open a discussion such as “We really want to enroll our daughter, however….” thank you for your advice!

  4. We are in the same position regarding not getti g financial aid but getting into a school we love. There is no way we can afford the $26k tuition in full. I too am wondering if once the decision is made that is it or is there wiggle room?

    1. Hi Stephanie, Anne told me this morning that it is a real compliment to a family that they accepted you knowing that you need aid which they can’t offer. That said, she also told me that the financial aid committee may have seen what they consider more resources in your family finances than you think you have (grandparents who can help, savings, assets, the potential for downsizing, etc.) Or, it could just be that the schools have so little financial aid due to the recession that the little they do have is going to keep existing families who have lost jobs, etc. at the school. It’s hard for the schools to make these decisions, just as its hard for your family to be in this situation. It’s unlikely there is a way to negotiate aid once you get the letter, but maybe your preschool director could call on your behalf and explain the situation? Also, if you do enroll your child and come up with the first year tuition, you re-apply for aid the second year as an existing family. Just something to think about. Congratulations on the acceptance letter!

  5. So,
    my results are in, we were wait listed at our #1 and #2 choice schools :(, but accepted at our #3 choice school 🙂 with a wonderful offer of an aid amount of almost full tutition coverage. Our problem is, we still really love our #1 and #2 choices, should we hold off and wait to see if we get off the wait list or pay the deposit for the school that accepted us. I know the deposit can not be refunded so we really don’t want loose that amount of money if we do get off the wait list.
    Also, is it possible to find out how much financial aide we would reasonably get at our wait listed schools if we do decide to hold off from them.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated about what to do. I guess I’m not sure how easily some one gets off the wait list, especially a family that needs financial aide. And if it would be worth it to hold off and wait for the wait-listed schools to get back to us.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jenn, congratulations!!!! An acceptance letter AND a great aid officer is fantastic. There is absolutely no way to know if you will get off the wait-list and if they will offer you aid. You should pay the deposit on the school with the acceptance letter/aid offer. If you don’t, you may not have anywhere to go! Waiting on a wait-list is so risky. A spot may open up or it may not. Losing a deposit if a spot were to open up is just part of this process, unfortunately. Think about if a spot opens up on the wait-listed school(s) but no aid is offered. Accept the offer and pay the deposit to ensure you have a school to attend that you like. Like I said in the video, several of my friends are at their 2nd and 3rd choice schools and 5 or 6 years later, its their #1 choice. Best, Christina

      1. Your absolutely right. I feel like I should be so grateful right now, I guess I was a little bummed because the schools I put the most effort towards wait listed us. After some thinking, I am very grateful now, the other school is great, like all of the private schools of course. I’m definately going to send in the deposit and let them know we would like to enroll. I did email the wait list schools and let them know we are still interested, so I we shall see what happens.

  6. We were offered several spots at great schools, but no aid. We really need aid in order to accept. What if another family who was offered aid declines the offer in the first week? Do financial aid resources sometimes become available during “decision week” even though they were not offered at first? Is it worth having that conversation: “We are really happy for the offer, but cannot accept without aid. Is there a chance the picture might change this week?”

  7. Also, I see it mentioned that some families accept an offer without aid and pay the full tuition the first year, then apply as an existing family. Is aid for existing families easier to obtain? Or does that send the message that you can indeed pay and their criteria for evaluating you will not change whether your existing or new? gracias!

  8. I think its a risky strategy to pay the first year without really being able to avoid it and hope for aid the second year and beyond. That said, I think schools do try to keep existing families who have financial circumstances that have changed since they’ve been there. But, if your only choice is to do it, it could work or it might not. Its hard to know. Hopefully the economy improves and the aid situation along with it.

  9. Curious what it means to not receive emails from several schools today. For the life of me I cannot find a place to log in and check admissions status on any site except HW. (We are out of town all week so don’t want to wait to get home and check the mail.) The good news is that we got an acceptance from our #1 choice, but I’m surprised the other schools make finding out their decision so hard!

    1. Congratulations on your acceptance! Not sure what’s happening, except that emails could still come on Monday. With emails some of the schools are extra careful since its so easy to hit the wrong button with email and send the wrong information to an entire group of families. That’s what happened at one school a few years ago.

  10. We got into one school and Waitlisted at two. Did not get into a fourth. Thank you, Beyond The Brochiure for being here. I am so pleased with our outcome.

  11. Thanks to BTB for all of your advice over this process! We’ve been applying from out of town, and I’ve found the posts here truly invaluable. We’ve been accepted to our likely first choice but haven’t heard from another…I see that we’re not alone in not getting an email from a school or two: anyone else still waiting now that it’s Sunday morning?

    1. For what it’s worth, I applied to 4 schools and never received any emails. I was super anxious to get back in town Saturday to check the mail because I did not receive any emails at all on Sat. Luckily we did receive all of our letters in the mail from all 4 schools yesterday. We were accepted at one, wait-listed at two others, and a no at one.

      I know I didn’t receive emails for the other 3 for obvious reasons (they don’t send wait-list or rejection emails). But the one we were accepted to, did not send out an acceptance email either only a packet in the mail. I guess the email thing may depend on the school.

  12. Thanks, Jenn! What’s strange is that the admissions assistant had indeed told me that they’d be emailing on Saturday, and yet we haven’t gotten ours. Oh well. I’m hoping maybe their system is just backed up or whatnot. Because we’re not in LA, we haven’t gotten our letters yet either. When I log in to their site, I see an enrollment agreement, but don’t have the passcode to click on it, so I can’t tell if it’s standard for everyone who has applied or if we’ve indeed been accepted!

    Thanks for the help. And congratulations on your acceptance!

    1. Thanks and good luck! I know the antiscipation is killing you, it was for me all day Saturday, and with no emails, I couldn’t wait to get home. And what you described does sounds like a good sign!

  13. Thanks, guys! We’ll just wait and see… 🙂 I’ll post back here when we hear. Congrats to both of you on your acceptances!

  14. Thanks everyone for sharing that some of you didn’t get emails from all schools. If we had known it wasn’t as simple as logging into the site on Saturday we might have stayed in town for spring break. But getting an acceptance email from our top choice yesterday is what matters the most to us, so no matter what the rest of the letters say we are happy. We just liked the idea of knowing right away if we had other acceptances so we could free up the spots for kids on the wait list. Had no idea we couldn’t simply log in to each school site!

  15. Anon, you’re so right! And, I love that you want to release your spots at other schools so families don’t have to wait any longer than necessary! Thanks for your comment!

  16. This is so exciting, yet it is very stressful. We got accepted into 5 and wait listed at our 6th. The challenge is that the one wait list was our number one choice. We are blessed! I am finding it much harder to make a decision than I thought. We will decide by Tuesday so the schools can offer to other families.

    1. Wow! Congratulations for really outstanding results! Lots of decisions to think about! Good luck! So happy for you. Christina

  17. Where do you log in for information on the websites? I’ve to 4 different schools that I applied to, and I see nothing. I must be missing something…

    1. Hi Dec’s Mom, the only people I know who have logged onto admissions websites are those applying to secondary schools. But, maybe there are some private elementary schools that offer that feature too. If so, they should make it clear on their websites or in communications with applicant families.

  18. we applied to several schools – we were accepted to one, but knew it wasnt our first choice or the best fit and for $26K we could not do it – we also didnt not get financial aid so it would have been impossible – so we sent them a nice note declining the spot. We REALLY felt The Center is the best place and we are wait listed for 1st….anyone have any thoughts on the chance of getting in? if we do get in, is financial aid still possible (we had already applied).

    1. Hi TS Mom. Thanks for your comment! I commend you for declining an offer that you know isn’t right and that isn’t financially feasible. Why put your child and yourself through that? Wait-listed for 1st grade at The Center will be hard, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. It will probably mean somebody has to leave to open up a spot. Most kids move on from K to 1st grade. But, that’s not to say it’s impossible (families leave for various reasons). In terms of financial aid, I think the Center is one of the schools that does have financial aid funds, especially for diverse families. It sounds like you’ve already applied for aid, so if they admit you, it could be with an aid package or possibly without. Christina

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