The College Process: Likely Letters

Features, Tech News — By on February 4, 2015 8:28 pm

It’s that time of the year for seniors when most are done with the college application and are waiting for results to come out in March/April from their schools. The wait can be nerve-racking and can cause many students to become very anxious. But for some students, this wait ends earlier than expected since they might receive a likely letter.

A likely letter is basically an early unofficial acceptance letter. Schools are required to release results at a set time; they technically cannot send results earlier to an applicant (unless they applied Early Action). However some colleges/universities make their decision for an applicant early in January or February and in hopes of having that student actually attend in the Fall, they send a likely letter. A likely letter is aimed to give an applicant more time to consider the university and to narrow their choices.

Usually, likely letters are used by selective/Ivy League schools in order to make sure the applicant attends to their university as opposed to another. Hence, those who receive a likely letter usually get other acceptances. Likely letters are used to increase a school’s diversity; they are sent to students who are particularly desirable for the school. Usually that includes athletes and minorities.

However, likely letters are not official and can be revoked at any time, but this is very rare. They are only revoked if the university founds out the applicant has fraudulent information on their application or if the applicant grades drops dramatically.

Likely letters have proven to be valuable in the college yield process, with 80% of those getting likely letters attending. And even for those who don’t attend, the university who sends the likely letter stays as a top choice for the applicant. However those who don’t receive likely letters still have a shot of getting in. In fact, most of an university’s class will never receive a likely letter, as only a small fraction of applicants ever receive one.

Likely letters come in different degrees that reflect how eager a school is in recruiting the applicant. It may just a letter or email. Other times, it could a phone call from admissions or a current student(s). In rare case, it may even come in the form of college accessories (e.g. shirts, bags, scarfs, etc.).

For seniors at the moment, second semester is coming in and results are abound. For many, decisions will come out in March or April. However, a few can call it a year early if they’re lucky enough for a likely letter.