Admission Decision FAQs

Questions and answers in this category relate to the process of communicating admissions decisions and responding to those decisions.

Q: How and when will I receive an official decision notification about my application for admission?

You will receive a notification email when a decision is ready for you, typically in February or early March. The email will instruct you to check your Application Status Portal for an update about your application. Please note only decisions released from the Graduate School, and not from individual departments or programs, should be considered official. Decisions are only available in the Application Status Portal; Graduate Admissions staff cannot release any decisions over the phone or by email. We do not mail any hard copies of admissions decisions through the mail, but you may download and print a copy of your decision letter from your Application Status Portal.

Q: I was offered admission. How do I respond to the offer?

Please fill out the “Reply to Offer of Admission” form in your Application Status Portal.

Q: I was offered admission but have not received an Offer Letter - what should I do?

Your admissions decision will only be available on your Application Status Portal. You should print and retain a copy of this letter.

Hard copy letters are no longer printed and mailed.

Q: Where should I send my official transcript? 

You should only send an official transcript if you have accepted an offer of admission. 

Incoming students should refer to our Transcript FAQs for more information. 

Q: I was not offered admission and need my materials returned. Is that possible?

Unfortunately, no. As a matter of policy, we do not return application materials to applicants. 

Q: I was not offered admission and want to re-apply next year. Does the Office of Graduate Admissions retain my application and supplemental materials?

We may retain your application year to year, but you will nevertheless need to submit a new application each time, including all required materials and the application fee.

Applicants who have been denied admission three times by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, whether by one or more departments, are not eligible to apply again. If a fourth application is submitted, it will not be considered and the application fee will not be refunded.

Q: I was not offered admission and want to speak to someone about this. Whom do I contact?

Departments/programs make admission recommendations to the GSAS deans, who make the final decisions concerning admitted applicants.

Decisions not to admit an applicant are almost always made at the program level.

  • You might try contacting the program to which you applied.
  • Please consider that the large number of applications received and the small number of places available often make for difficult decisions. 
  • Admissions committees adopt a comparative perspective toward all applications received and seldom keep extensive records concerning the decision in each case. 
  • Programs are not required to provide applicants explanations concerning admission decisions.

Q: I was offered admission and accepted (or declined) the offer, but now I have changed my mind. What do I do?

Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions by emailing us at

Q: Can I defer an offer of admission to a later date?

With permission from your program and the Graduate School, you may defer your enrollment for one year. To begin the process of requesting a deferral, contact the director of graduate studies (DGS) in your program. If the DGS supports your deferral request, they will seek formal approval from their assigned academic dean at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Note: You must accept the offer of admission first before a deferral request can be granted.