You've narrowed down your choices, sent off the applications, and now the letter of offer you've been waiting for has arrived. But when it says you're accepted, be sure to read the fine print-there are different types of admission status:
Regular Graduate Status:
To be admitted with regular (sometimes called full) graduate status, you must meet all of the university or college's requirements for admission, such as:
• Graduating from an accredited undergraduate institution with an acceptable grade point average,
• Scoring an acceptable mark on any graduate admission tests,
• Completing any prerequisite courses for the program, and
• Submitting a complete application for admission.
If you meet all requirements and are then recommended for acceptance by the admissions committee, you will be granted regular graduate status. Regular graduate status indicates that upon completion of your full-time studies, you will be considered for the award of a graduate degree.
If you do not meet all of the prerequisites for the program, the university may grant you provisional (sometimes referred to as conditional or limited) status. This status usually has a time frame during which you must complete the missing prerequisites for the graduate program (e.g. required undergraduate courses or additional courses to improve your overall grade point average). During the time you hold provisional status, you may also be limited in the number of courses you can take per semester. If the conditions are met within the university's time frame (usually 1 or 2 semesters), your status can be upgraded to regular (or another special status you apply for) at the recommendation of the admissions committee. However, if the conditions are not met within the time frame, you may not be permitted to continue in the program.
As part of the selection process, an admissions committee may create a list of applicants to make offers to should "first choice" applicants choose to attend other programs and there is extra space. To remain on the wait list, some institutions will require you submit a form to confirm or you will be removed. If you are on a wait list, find out if the list is ranked, and if so, what your ranking is. You may be permitted to submit supplementary materials (additional letters of reference or information about recent accomplishments) to improve your ranking.
A deferred status can mean that your application has been placed on hold while the admissions committee waits to make final decisions until it has received a more substantial number of applications.
Alternately, deferred status can mean that you are accepted to a program but are permitted to postpone your enrollment for a period of time (e.g. a semester or a year). This status is more common in professional programs that require you gain additional work experience before starting your studies.
There are a variety of other special statuses that may be granted by your institution based on your unique circumstances or requests. Some of the more common special statuses are:
• Non-degree status to enroll in graduate-level courses even though you are not seeking a graduate degree or credential.
• Visiting student status to take and transfer graduate courses to another graduate program
• Part-time status to take fewer courses than required per semester towards your degree and/or take longer than the specified period of time for completing your degree.