This time of year I get many phone calls from parents and students who are panicking because the student didn’t get accepted to any colleges or can’t afford any college to which they were accepted. Usually this results from having applied only to colleges that were a reach or without fully understood college financial aid. Either way, the question is, what do we do now?
One resource that I refer families to is the NACAC space availability survey that each year lists the colleges that are still accepting applications at this time of year. The student can search by state to find what colleges in a particular state might still have room for them to attend. While this is a great resource for the student who hasn’t been accepted any where else, financial aid at many of these schools is very limited and paying for college can still be a challenge.
I generally advise families to look at all options if there is no acceptable college choice at this time of year. Students might consider taking a gap year if they have a strong academic record but just aimed too high in this competitive college market. For students with a less stellar academic record, attending a community college may be a good option to establish the student’s ability to engage in college level work. There are also options for a post graduate program which is basically an additional year of high school to give the student a chance to improve their academic record or focus on a more realistic list of colleges to which to apply.
The options for next year for students seeking a college at this time are not always as attractive as they might have been with more planning, but there are almost always options for a student to consider.