April is an exciting month for most high school seniors. Most have received their college acceptance letters and are making their final decisions on where they will attend college this fall. Unfortunately, some students have not been so lucky; some are still sweating it out, hoping to make it off the waiting list, or worse, they’ve only received college rejection letters. There are a number of reasons why students may not have been accepted to the colleges on their lists. They may have applied to some of the more selective schools, believing that they would be among the chosen few that are offered admission, or they may have submitted applications that were riddled with grammatical errors. Whatever the reasons, these students now find themselves in a bit of a quandary. Fortunately, not all is lost; there is still plenty of time for them to make alternate arrangements or change their course of action for the fall. Here are just a few options students have when they find that they have not been accepted to their chosen schools.
1. Apply to Other Colleges
Many colleges had application deadlines in the fall and early spring, but there are still plenty of colleges with rolling deadlines. Students who still wish to attend college this fall should explore their options and still approach the process as they did earlier in the year. Taking a campus tour, visiting with admissions representatives and speaking with current students are still recommended before submitting any applications, to ensure students find colleges that fit their needs. Another option is for students to consider enrolling in their local community college. Students not only save money on tuition and other fees, but also have additional time to explore options for transferring to a 4-year college in a year or two.
2. Take a Gap Year
Some students may find that the college admissions process and the demands of senior year burn them out. For these students, a gap year may just be the thing they need to reignite their passions or find some direction for their futures. A gap year can offer students the opportunity to travel and learn new skills, or they may wish to use their time off to embark on a volunteer project in another country; some students may prefer to take an internship, instead. If they plan to apply to college for the spring semester or following fall, students should be sure that their time is spent wisely, as many admissions officers will want to know what students did with their time off between high school and college.
3. Get a Job
After being rejected from their first-choice colleges, some students may not want to enroll or apply to other colleges right away. If so, students should consider getting a part-time or full-time job. It may be beneficial to try something in their intended field of study, or they may wish to use this time to explore other opportunities. Students can gain valuable work experience, expand their résumé and save money for college, while trying to figure out which college may be right for them going forward.
For those who cannot afford to travel or participate in a volunteer program abroad, there are still many opportunities closer to home. Students can often assist local charities and community organizations by volunteering their time to help with events, fundraisers and administrative tasks. Most communities have organizations that are dedicated to education, health, the arts and other areas of interest that will directly relate to potential college majors that students may be considering. The skills, experience and networking gained through their volunteer work can often help students in the college admissions process, as well.
It’s important for students to understand that they are not alone; others are facing the same dilemma and have an uncertain future ahead of them right now. Fortunately, there is still plenty of time for students to reconsider their college options or explore other opportunities for the fall. Students will naturally feel disappointed and depressed about their situation, but they should remember that it is a temporary setback; colleges rejected billionaire Warren Buffett and entrepreneur Ted Turner, too, but that didn’t stop them from finding success. Sometimes, the bumps in the road teach us the most.
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