How to Accept the Right Offer
Request Sent Successfully
Something Went Wrong

How to Accept the Right Offer

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 20 Feb 2020

It’s almost spring. And traditionally, spring brings with it, hope. Students across the world wait at this time for college admission decisions to roll in. 


At Christmas, the Early Decision / Restrictive Early Action offers have already hit the mailboxes with typical holiday cheer. These require an answer by May 1. 

It’s good to remember that applying for Early Decision, or Restrictive Early Action is a binding contract. These are offered at Ivy Leagues like Stanford, UPenn, Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and others. You can only apply to one university, and if you are selected under ED or REA, you are honor bound to accept it. 

It could be a tricky situation if you are not entirely sure about your future because, historically, financial aid is not offered in early admissions. You should ideally only apply if you are secure about your financial position, and also extremely sure about your choice and program because if you get selected, there’s no going back. 


Come March and the other offers start rolling in. Regular Decision applications which were filed in December for most colleges (November for UC’s) and Early Applications (non restrictive) too send their admission decision. These are non-binding applications. Typically students apply to more than one program. The wait for the decision is hard, the final admit reply deadline is usually May 1, but if you are selected in more than one of the programs you will have to choose!


The real question is: What do you do if you have been selected in more than one program?


First of all, congratulations!! The application process couldn’t have been easy. 

The offers all usually come almost at the same time. You should wait until you have heard from all the places you have applied. While it does not require a lot of financial commitment to accept an offer to secure your spot, we recommend that you think upon it for a while.

Firstly, by waiting till the deadline (April end), you are not in any danger of losing your spot. Also, once all the offers have come in, you are in a better position to choose. Too often we hear of applicants who send in multiple acceptances in response to their offer because they are not sure of their own final decision. 

While it does not require a lot of financial commitment to accept an offer, we recommend that you wait for the other results to come in as well. You usually have till May end to make a decision. Think out your options well and clearly before you accept any of these offers. 


What to do if you receive more than one offer?


  • If it’s ED, then your choice has been made for you. It’s just the one offer as you cannot apply anywhere else until you receive an answer from the college. If you are selected, you are honour bound to send in your acceptance.
  • If it’s EA, (non restrictive) from the likes of MIT, CAlTech, UIUC, Michigan Ann Arbor, and if it’s your first choice, then you should go for it. Getting selected in EA is not easy, and if you have cracked it, then you will surely excel!
  • If it’s RD, then you should wait for all the offers to come in. Weigh all your options finances, aid, living costs, future prospects before making a commitment

Do remember that external scholarships / funding is rare. If you are waiting on this, you could accept more than one offer. 

  • Suppose you have applied for XX course at XX. Your application is selected, and the offer has come, but the financial aid was refused. You have applied for external funding but that could take some time to come. 
  • Suppose your application for YY at YY too has been accepted. It's the second choice, but along with part funding, it could be a good option. 

In this case, it would be a good idea to accept them both. With these two offers in hand, it would be a good idea to wait on your final decision on external funding. Apart from such a scenario, it’s not a good idea to accept multiple offers. It creates a system wide ripple with  many students accepting many offers, and many others being waitlisted. 


Our final recommendation? Wait. 

May 1st is usually when all the acceptances have to be sent in. Think out all your options before saying yes. Agonize about it while you wait, but do not commit until you have all the answers. If you do send acceptance replies to more than one program, it creates a ripple effect of sorts. Many other deserving candidates do not find a seat and they are waitlisted.

Wait for all your offers, but choose only one. 


Further Reading

How to fill out the Common App

How to fill out Identity Questions

What not to write in your college essays

So you want to study abroad