By this time, seniors have completed most (if not all) their undergraduate college applications. Congratulations! However, this celebration is easier said than done as we still await the results for the decisions. There is no doubt that many seniors (and of course parents) are filled with anxiety as we approach closer to the notification release dates. I hope that this article can guide seniors on what to expect with their college notifications and suggest what students should be doing respective to each admission outcome. If your students are still working towards their senior year and college apps, I hope that this article can help these students, especially Juniors, think about their college list, or college mapping process.


College Application Notification Dates

UC notification: throughout the month of March (some schools release decisions in Feb)

Private schools notification: 


Outcome 1: Accepted

Seniors, as you can now properly celebrate, please also make sure you inform your family and friends of this exciting news! Still, the work ahead is not over; as you look at the “accepted” colleges, reconsider the other accepted schools based off the factors you originally drew up from your college mapping or “college list”. These factors include, but are not limited to: How important is the professor to student ratio on campus? How important is the college “rank” or name-brand, in order for me to network into large firms? Do I prefer an urban or more rural setting? Will I survive in the cold (in the far east) and maintain physical and mental health in that setting? How important will be the financial cost be (in consideration with the major I am pursuing, and the student loan payoff thereafter)? As far as considering the cost for each school, please refer to this link to “Compare Your Aid Awards” (

Perhaps the best way to compare and contrast all these factors, is to visit the campuses you have been accepted into. Many colleges offer a stipend for prospective, accepted students to visit their campus and help aid their decision; some schools offer an over-night program, where prospective students can audit classes, receive a tour on a specific department and it’s programs, and of course, to mingle with the community and culture. Whether a tour or an event, make sure you leave your name behind to show the admission officers that you were present and of your interest! Each school is different in how they approach these programs, but don’t forget to check your mail and emails for this invitation.

Don’t also forget to regularly check your portal that you’ve received when you first applied. When you’ve made your decision for a college, you will need to submit the following things: your acceptance letter, confirming that you will attend the college, a deposit, a separate acceptance letter for financial aid (if available), and any other extraneous items that will be notified to you through your portal. Good luck with choosing your school that will be a part of the next four (or more) years of your life!


Outcome 2: Waitlisted

The “Waitlist” on a college notification does not mean that you should just be waiting. Though this goes for all seniors, you should still be keeping up with your high school academics and if you are waitlisted, definitely do not drop the ball with your extracurriculars. From now until the notification dates, students should still be keeping with all these things, especially because if you respond “yes” to a waitlist offer, you will need to write a short response on how you can continue to add onto the respective college community once you are there. Your response should not be a reiteration of your supplement essays, but rather new accomplishments, experiences, and (or) projects that would make you a good fit for the school.

Around this outcome, students often ask me how likely am I to get in from the waitlist. Unfortunately, there is no set way of knowing this as each college’s approach to waitlist (the amount of waitlisted students, the number of waitlist students who are accepted) all depend on the respective colleges. Moreover, as since the waitlist is a tool for admission officers to plan out their enrollment space (even around the availability for different departments and majors), the waitlist can also change from year to year. For example, if more engineering students are matriculating from the regular notification, then the school might offer less waitlists for these students that year.

All in all, the acceptance rate from waitlists have been reported to be just as difficult, if not even more, to get into than through the regular decision route. As such, just because you are waitlisted for your dream college, you should not rely on this option only. Accept and put a deposit down for your second-choice school, and once you hear back the result from your waitlist around May, you will still have a college to attend for that Fall in case the waitlist doesn’t work out.

Additionally, a deferral outcome from your early application works much the same way, except you would have been notified back in December. There usually is no need to confirm the deferral outcome, as students will automatically be put into the regular pool. Still, please make sure to send these additional updates like the waitlist students as your deferred application will be notified around March.

Though I did not put this as a separate outcome, I would like to mention that there are special “Guarantee Transfer” offers, mostly for private schools. The process works the same way in which you respond with a confirmation and proceed with the paperwork as the waitlist, but the difference is that students attend a different college while satisfying the requirements for a particular major. If you have received this offer, the duration of transferring to the college might be after a semester or the freshman year.


3) Outcome 3: Rejected

Rejections come in all shapes and forms, but I believe collectively, our human response to it is very similar. Again, this is not only for college admissions, but for any “no” that impedes you from your aspirations and goals. But I also believe there is greater opportunity for growth in these moments -- to preserve in passion and learn how to pick yourself up, to take a step back and constructively self-critique things you can improve and work on, and to become someone who can communicate to others and yourself on how you have grown from such rejections in life.

In light of this, to better prepare for these circumstances (for any highschool students and their parents) I encourage you to be diligent with your college mapping (college list) process starting in your Junior year. Think of “target and safety range schools” that fit within the range of your academic profile, but look for the specific programs that open up opportunities for great graduate programs or credentialed job opportunities. As such, hopefully seniors, you have options to choose from your second-choice and safety-target schools, despite not getting into your dream college(s).

If in case you have no college options to choose or if the options available do not fit with your plan, consider attending your local community college and transferring out as you enter your Junior year in college. In the Santa Clarita Valley, College of the Canyons is notable for their high transfer rate to UC schools, as well as options like the TAG (Transfer-Agreement-Guarantees) or TAP (Transfer-Alliance-Program). You will need to communicate with your adviser at COC and take classes around the desired major to transfer into at a specified UC campus. Students are also able to just apply as a transfer like a freshman student would, but either way you will need to keep in mind you will be transferring as a specific major and you should develop your coursework and/or activities around that major (the transfer application will ask you questions around this).

Lastly, though I believe this is not for everyone, I at times recommend a gap-year before starting college. Think of the gap-year as preparing for the change. Look for jobs, take community college courses (again, around your desired major), and/or travel abroad through service programs. Preparing for changes in context to real life work, especially through international experiences, I have met the most mature set of individuals who are more passionate about their academics and have good discipline around their work experience(s). Again, though not for everyone, taking a gap year may certainly be helpful.


I wish everyone a Happy New Year and pray that this Spring will be a safe and productive season. If your students are a current Junior, now would be a great time to start the college mapping process and researching the different schools and programs. If you have any questions, you may reach me at 661-259-0052. Thank you, and again, Happy New Year! 

Caleb Kim

  • 발렌시아 엘리트학원 원장
  • 661-259-0052
  • 26650 The Old Road #130, Valencia CA 91381