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Acceptance, rejection, standby: What to do when you receive a reply on your application

Admission — In July, thousands of hopeful young Danes get an answer to their university application. We spoke with the head of a centre that offers special study guidance about how to deal with all the possible application scenarios. His number one piece of advice? »Don’t panic.«

Many applicants to the country’s universities aren’t just sweating because it’s hot outside at the moment. They are all waiting to learn whether or not they have been admitted to the degree programme of their dreams, or even admitted to any of the programmes they have applied to.

The answer to that question will land in mailboxes across the country on July 26, but you can start preparing early for the possible outcomes. What’s your best course of action if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for on any of your prioritized applications? What do you do if you get a spot on standby?

The easiest possible scenario to deal with is of course an acceptance letter from a university that you actually want to enrol in. You just have to accept the offer by July 31 (if you have been admitted to University of Copenhagen deadlines may vary), otherwise the offer is retracted. However, if you do not wish to enrol, be sure to decline the offer, so the university can admit whoever is next in line for your spot.

If, on the other hand, you don’t receive an offer of admission on any of your priorities, your next step requires a bit more planning, according to Per Krabbe Mølgaard, Head of Studievalg Danmark in Southern Jutland.

First, you have to make sure that a mistake hasn’t been made, he says. If you applied via quota 1, you simply compare the grade point average of the programme with your own grade point average, and if the first number is higher than the second, »you simply don’t qualify by the numbers.«

»Then you have to consider if it is important to you to begin your studies this year, or if it may be beneficial to take another year to prepare,« says Per Krabbe Mølgaard.

READ MORE: By the numbers: Here are this year’s least and most popular programmes

If you choose to wait for the next application deadline, you have a chance to work specifically towards meeting the requirements or apply via quota 2 next year. Maybe you need to find work that will help you earn extra credit or take classes that can increase your odds in the quota 2-field of applicants?

Odds are you have thought long and hard about what you want to study and what field you see yourself working in in the future. Don’t throw those considerations overboard.

Per Krabbe Mølgaard, Head of Studievalg Danmark in Southern Jutland

You can also research if the degree programme you applied to is on offer elsewhere in the country. That way you increase your odds of admission next year. »In some cases you have to decide whether you want to study medicine or live in Copenhagen,« says Per Krabbe Mølgaard.

Don’t panic

The most important thing is to not panic, he says. If you receive a rejection on your initial application, you may be able to get in elsewhere this year, if you find a programme or university with open spots. However, Per Krabbe Mølgaard advises against making rash decisions.

»Odds are you have thought long and hard about what you want to study and what field you see yourself working in in the future. Don’t throw those considerations overboard.«

»If you panic, make a rash decision and choose a different path without doing the proper research and soul searching first, you increase the risk of dropping out at a later point.«

However, it may be necessary for some to start considering alternative paths to the degree programme of their dreams.

Five pieces of advice, if you received a letter of rejection

1. Take a deep breath

2. Check for available spots

3. Earn extra credit and apply next year

4. Think of alternative paths

5. Seek out guidance counseling

Source: Studievalg Danmark

Getting over your first rejection on a quota 2-application is one thing, but if you’ve been rejected three or four times, it can be difficult to remain motivated especially if you been working hard on qualifying for years. At some point, you may have to start thinking about alternative ways.

»We meet students who have always dreamed about studying in a particular field, but they have received so many letters of rejection that they are starting to wonder if that is the right decision. In that case, you should research similar degree programmes at other universities or consider a different path that may involve some of the same elements as the field you were originally interested in. Ask yourself this: Would I be a happier person looking into an alternative degree programme?«

Per Krabbe Mølgaard suggests looking at relevant master’s programmes. Do any of them line up with the bachelor’s degree programme you applied to but was rejected from? If that is the case, you may want to apply to a different bachelor’s degree programme that will allow you to apply to that particular master’s programme. It’s all about finding a path to your ultimate goal.

Standby is a guarantee

If you receive a standby spot at a university, it’s easy to feel like you’ve already been ruled out for admission, but that’s not how the system works.

Ask yourself this: Would I be a happier person looking into an alternative degree programme?

Per Krabbe Mølgaard, Head of Studievalg Danmark in Southern Jutland

The worst-case scenario is that an offer is extended to you the following year. The best-case scenario is that you have already been accepted, either this summer or in the winter – this is actually very likely. What happens is that if a significant portion of the already admitted students decline the offer, you automatically move up in line.

If you end up with an assurance of a spot next year, you can use the time in between to do whatever you want.

»Most students have a positive attitude and figure out what to do in the meantime,« says Per Krabbe Mølgaard.

»But it’s okay not to put all your eggs in one basket. The institution does not care what you spend your time doing in the interim period. You can even begin studying in another degree program at the same school without it affecting your offer of admission next year,« he says. He is careful to mention, though, that if you end up doing that you will be spending part of you student grant that you won’t have if or when you start the degree programme, you had received a standby spot for.

READ MORE: University of Copenhagen sees an uptick in applicants across the board except in the humanities

At Studievalg Danmark they offer guidance in terms of applying to a degree programme, and every year Per Krabbe Mølgaard and his colleagues work hard to help students who have been rejected at their university or degree programme of choice. All applicants will receive a letter of acceptance, rejection or an offer of a standby spot on July 26.