Offer of admission
If you are accepted to a university, congratulations! The institution will likely send you information on how to accept their offer. Within the offer of admission will also be an outline of what financial aid or scholarship funding they will give you. You don’t have to accept or decline this offer right away. Unless you applied for an Early Decision, you will have until May 1st to consider your options. This is the National Reply Date in the US.
If you do decide to decline an offer, let the admissions office know politely and as soon as possible. Universities like to know that you will not enroll, so they can offer your spot to a waitlisted student. If you have to postpone your enrollment for a year, you can ask for a deferral. Make sure to ask the admissions offer for guidance as soon as possible. Not every university will be able to defer you, so there is a chance that you will have to reapply in the coming year.
Being waitlisted means you had strong enough credentials to be considered for admission, but there were more competitive applicants in that admissions round. There is still a chance you will be offered admission. If a student who was offered admission declines their place, the university will return to the waitlisted candidates. If you have been waitlisted at your top choice university, you can let them know that you will certainly accept if you were to receive an offer of admission after all. You can also send them updated information such as recent academic achievements and certificates.
A rejection is definite. The best advise we can give you is not to take it personally. The admissions committee faces the difficult task of choosing a limited number of talented and motivated students from a very large pool. This is not easy. Send your university a polite message in which you thank them for considering your application. You might want to apply to this university at a later time, as a transfer or graduate student.