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Articles / Applying to College / College for 2015 Grad On her Own

College for 2015 Grad On her Own

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Dec. 31, 2015

Question: If I graduated with the class of 2015 and didn't apply to college or take the SAT what can I do if I want to apply for college now? Would I have to do my fafsa this January? I have been living on my own, would I still need my parents information? Where can I find more help?

Deadlines are quickly approaching for September 2016 admission. So if you haven't yet applied to any colleges or taken the SAT, your options will be limited. You can still go to college next fall, if that's what your aim is, but you will have to restrict your list to test-optional colleges and hustle to meet deadlines.

Yes, there are many colleges–usually the less selective ones–that accept applications all the way through the summer. Some of these colleges will also be test-optional, or their late deadlines will allow you to take the SAT or ACT this winter and still get your scores in plenty of time to apply.

But these less-selective colleges are commonly the ones with the worst financial aid. So, if you are self-supporting, you may find yourself with giant loans to repay by the time you graduate.

A better bet for you might be to attend a public community college for two years. This will keep costs down and you also don't need SAT's to enroll. And even when it's time to transfer to a four-year college, you will probably not need SAT's if you have earned an Associate's Degree from your two-year school.

And if you were a mediocre student in high school, community colleges can be a great way to compile a good record before continuing on to a four-year college. Transfer admission decisions are based largely on college grades and not on high school grades.

There are also some public four-year colleges with late deadlines that would give you enough time to submit test scores, if needed. If you attend an in-state public college, your costs may be reasonable, especially if you qualify for financial aid and submit your FAFSA on time. Most colleges will expect your FAFSA anywhere from mid-February till late June. So you do have some time to complete it, although deadlines vary widely and you need to read instructions carefully and heed them. Although you are on your own, your parents' information will be required up until you turn 24 (unless you are married or are a ward of the court, a veteran, or have a dependent).

On the other hand, if you were a very strong student in high school, you might be admissible at a highly selective college … one that offers great financial aid. However, it is really too late now to start considering such colleges for the coming fall and you'd be wise to postpone such college plans until the fall of 2017.

>> Where can I find more help?<<

Start by writing back to me and telling me a bit more about your college timetable (when you would like to begin). Then I will send you a form to fill out that will help me direct you more specifically.

Even though you didn't go straight to college from high school, you will still have college options so you're wise to start preparing now.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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