The Student Success Blog

Understanding admission decisions

Posted by Milken School 2/19/2018
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For most students applying to private school, March marks the month when admission decisions arrive, and you need to take the next step in your application and enrollment process. So what are these potential decisions you may receive and what do they mean?


This is what every applicant hopes to find when the letters arrive! If you got accepted at your first choice school, or at least one of your top schools, congratulations! Some schools mail notices to your home, while others send decisions electronically via email. Either way, this is an exciting time! Once you get your acceptance, you need to decide if you’re going to enroll.

If you’re accepted at more than one private school, you need to decide which school is best for you and your unique needs. Students make their decisions based on varying factors including the school’s reputation, academic rigor and support, variety of advanced study programs, sports or arts options, campus facilities, and financial aid packages. When making this decision, it’s important that you can see yourself being a part of the school community for your middle and/or high school years.

Remember, if you’ve been accepted at more than one school, it’s important that you let the schools you’re not going to attend know that you’re declining their offer of admission as soon as possible. This allows the school to then reallocate your spot to another qualified student on the waitlist.



Similar to colleges, many private schools will waitlist students, which could mean a few things. Most schools will waitlist you if they deem that you’re qualified to attend the school, but there aren’t enough spaces available … yet. You’ll need to wait to see if a space opens up. A waitlist decision might also mean that you need to improve in a specific area, undergo additional testing, or meet some other admission criteria before you can receive an official acceptance.

Essentially, the waitlist is part of a process that helps private schools, like Milken, better manage the flow of incoming students. Schools have limited openings for acceptances, so they have to be careful about how many students they initially accept, which means some students are placed on a waitlist, literally meaning they are waiting for an admission decision. A lot of families have questions about the waitlist, and this article goes into more detail about what it means to be waitlisted. 



Finding the right school is an art; not every student is right for every private school, and not every private school is right for every student. When you were applying to schools, you were looking at different places and figuring out which one is best for you. Well, schools go through the same process when assessing applicants. Which means, unfortunately, many students are denied admission at the private schools they wish to attend.

There are many reasons why students are denied admission at their top choice schools, but ultimately the decision reflects your ability to succeed at and be a contributing member of that school. While it may seem like the school doesn’t care about you, getting that rejection letter might be the best thing for you. Schools want to ensure that students will thrive within their communities and classrooms, and if there's a question about your ability to do just that, you’re probably not going to be accepted. Learn more about not getting accepted and what it means in this article


No response

It’s not common, but sometimes, you won’t hear back from the school you applied to. While this isn’t actually a decision, if the notification deadline (which could vary from school to school) comes and goes and you don’t hear anything, it’s time to reach out. This lack of response could be a result of many things, like delivery difficulties, missed deadlines, or incomplete applications. For example, there could have been a typo in your email address or your letter got lost at the post office, which might mean the response didn’t make it to you. In those cases, many schools offer online portals where you can see the progress of your application, and ultimately your admission decisions. So, log in and see if there’s a notice for you there.

However, no response most likely means you either didn’t meet the initial deadline and will hear later (hopefully) or your application isn’t complete. Ideally, you took the time to make sure your application was complete before the admission application deadline. If you missed that deadline, your file might have been held for a second round of admission decisions; some schools are very strict on deadlines.

But, if a piece was missing, your application likely wouldn’t be classified as complete and ready for consideration, therefore it never made it to the admission committee. Log into your online portal and check to make sure all the pieces are complete. If not, follow up with the admission office right away and see if the school is still willing to accept your application, and if they say yes, work quickly to get it done. The sooner you can complete your application, the sooner you’ll know if you’re accepted.

If you checked on your online portal and saw that your application was completed by the deadline, then follow up with the admission office right away to inquire about why you didn’t receive a decision.


Topics: Choosing a Private School, Applying to Private School, admission decisions

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The Student Success Blog

by Milken Community Schools

Welcome to Milken's Student Success Blog! We use this space to share information that we think will be helpful to all students at each stage of their middle and high school journey. 

Explore this blog for ...

  • Science and art ideas
  • Information about finding private schools
  • Application tips and tricks


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