For a small percentage of applicants every college admissions cycle, receiving what is termed a “likely letter” can be a welcome surprise. What is a likely letter? It’s a letter that certain colleges send out in February indicating that the candidate will in all likelihood be admitted. It’s a way of tipping off the applicant early on so they don’t have to wait until the end of March or April.
Who gets likely letters? Not just any candidate. Likely letters are typically reserved for the very top of the admitted students, those students who the admissions office very much wants to be a part of the incoming class. Maybe it’s a coveted shortstop for the baseball team or an African American candidate with top academic credentials. Maybe it’s the student who somehow managed to publish a paper in “Cell.” That would be extremely rare!
It should be noted that not all colleges send out likely letters. But many do. And the system the colleges have in place to determine who will receive a likely letter is different at most universities. Typically, the colleges use a ranking system and for those applicants who land at the top of the ranking, they’ll receive likely letters before the end of February. And if you receive a likely letter, it means you will indeed be accepted…so long as your grades and behavior remain consistent from when you applied!