College decisions used to be simple – you’re in or you’re not. Decision made. However, we’ve left the world of clear-cut answers.

In addition to being waitlisted, another admissions decision that’s becoming increasingly common is conditional admission. It may be referred to as provisional admission, conditional acceptance, deferred admission, or a handful of other names. Regardless of what it’s called, they all mean the same thing – it’s not a full yes, but it’s not a no! 

Colleges offer conditional admission for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is that they see potential in students but are not able to offer them a spot right away. It’s different than being waitlisted in that if you’re on a waitlist, you’re only offered admission if enough people decide to not enroll. With conditional admission, the ball is in your court. If you complete the conditions outlined in the admission letter, you’re in! 

The conditions for each school are different, but they’re all ways to demonstrate your interest and commitment to not only attending, but excelling at their school. Some schools offer future admission as a sophomore under the condition that you attend another college for your freshman year, maintain a target GPA, and take a certain amount of credits.

Other schools offer summer programs or courses that you must participate in and meet academic targets for before entering your freshman year at their college. It’s also fairly common for international students who are strong applicants but may need to improve their English skills through language classes prior to enrollment. 

Receiving a conditional admission offer may not seem as exciting as a complete yes, but it’s really not a bad thing! Not only could it be a route to your first choice school, but it may be an open door to unique opportunities that many of your peers won’t have.

In most cases, the classes you’re required to take prior to the start of your enrollment will earn you academic credits for graduation and will better prepare you to do well once you are fully admitted. Summer or freshman programs may also provide you with amazing opportunities to find community, receive more resources and support, and be invited to participate in events that are not offered to students who are admitted traditionally.

So if you do receive a conditional acceptance, don’t panic and remember to keep an open mind. 

Until Next Time,

Megan Bugarin, College Dream Builder Consultant 

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