Unhappy with your choices, or rejected everywhere – There are still options

Question: What’s the one thing no high school senior expects at the end of their college application process?

Answer: To have no college options, no place to go. While some students are rejected everywhere, the more common scenario is for a student to be sitting on multiple wait-lists but to have no firm offer in hand. Even more common, is the student who has been accepted, but only at their “safeties”, and they’re no longer of interest.

Thankfully there is a great resource out there.

More than 400 colleges and universities still have openings, financial aid, and housing available to qualified freshmen and/or transfer students for the Fall 2019 semester, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

NACAC’s 32nd annual college openings update (formerly the Space Availability Survey) was recently released and both public and private colleges and universities will continue to update it until July 1. It is an eagerly anticipated tool that allows students and colleges to find potential matches during the spring prior to fall enrollment. nacacnet.org/collegeopenings.

Counselors, parents, and teachers can use NACAC’s College Openings Update to assist students who have not yet completed the college application and admission process. The update provides an opportunity to be accepted by more institutions and to obtain financial aid and housing for the fall.

“The recent college bribery scandal may have given students and families the erroneous impression that colleges and universities are impossible to get into,” said Joyce Smith, NACAC’s CEO. “Nothing could be further from the truth. There will always be a few highly selective schools, but students and families should know that admission is an ongoing process for many institutions.”

Many colleges accept applications well after May 1, National College Decision Day, as a matter of policy, while others will continue to have openings available due to fluctuations that occur each year in the college application process.

“The NACAC College Openings Update is a win-win for students and postsecondary institutions,” Smith said. “For example, some colleges and universities may face challenges in predicting how many students will accept an admission offer. They may find openings in their incoming freshman class for deserving students if their predictions are slightly off. This creates opportunities for students seeking a great match after May 1.

Students interested in attending any of the colleges on the list, which can be searched by state and offers a contact name and telephone number, should get in touch with the colleges directly and as quickly as possible.

Other suggestions, if no acceptances are on the horizon:

  • Talk to your high school guidance counselor to see if he/she can explain the rejections and wait-lists; were you over-shooting? or were all the application components received on time?, etc.
  • Spring semester start dates – a number of colleges are successfully filling spots in their classes with January admits. There are openings because students are either studying abroad, transferring or dropping out. In any case, contact the colleges of greatest interest to see if they offer any program like this.
  • Community colleges and some two-year colleges offer open admissions and can be a great stepping stone to a four-year degree, and they are usually much less expensive.
  • Take a year off and reapply next fall. Make sure your activities are meaningful; either working to earn money for college, volunteering or traveling in a purposeful way.

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com; www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com