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Articles / Applying to College / College Admission Results: A Plan B

College Admission Results: A Plan B

Dave Berry
Written by Dave Berry | March 26, 2015
This time every year, Regular Decision college admission decisions begin to emerge. Early Decision (ED), ED II, and Early Action results have already been issued. Spring decisions are the most numerous and can cause the most anxiety because of their proximity to the May 1 enrollment deadline. My point in this post is to make you aware of a Plan B, just in case your best laid college application plans take a major turn south.

There is always a possibility that things might not turn out as expected for you. For example, if you didn't allow for the increasing competitiveness of the higher-ranked schools, you may have applied to too many “reach" schools and got shut out. On the other hand, maybe you had good acceptance success but your financial aid packages were either deficient or loaded with too many loans (or both).

Well, there's still hope for those of you who may be sweating it out over the next month or so: The National Association for College Admission Counseling's (NACAC's) College Openings Update: Space, Financial Aid and Housing Still Available For Fall 2014. This information is from last year because the list of still-remaining openings hasn't been issued yet. I wanted to alert you to this resource so that you'll be able to access it quickly, in case of your need for a fast Plan B.

Here's how NACAC's news release explains it (remember, this is not the current list, which will be forthcoming later this spring):

More than 250 colleges and universities still have openings, aid and housing available to qualified freshman and/or transfer students for the Fall 2014 semester, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling's (NACAC's) annual College Openings Update (formerly the “Space Availability Survey").

Now in its 27th year, the Update is a tool for counselors, parents and teachers as they assist students who have not yet completed the college application and admission process after the May 1 response deadline observed by many colleges. In cases where well-qualified students may not have applied to a range of institutions, or may have been turned down by all schools to which they applied, the Update provides an opportunity to be identified and possibly accepted by competitive institutions, and to obtain financial aid and housing.

“This announcement is a 'win-win' for all parties, if students need to rethink their admission options," said Joyce E. Smith, NACAC CEO.

“Part of demystifying college admission is understanding that, for many institutions, the application process is a year-round endeavor," said Smith. “Some colleges accept applications throughout the year, while others may continue to have openings available even after the May 1 national response deadline. We hope students and families will benefit from knowing that these options are available to them each year."

Both public and private colleges and universities are listed on the Update.

The Update can be viewed at:
It will remain on NACAC's Web site through June 30, and colleges have been asked to modify their listings as the number of openings at their institutions changes.
… College Openings Update is not a survey, but instead, a bulletin board that allows students and colleges to find potential matches during the Spring prior to Fall enrollment. Some colleges accept applications well after May 1 as a matter of policy, while others have openings available due to fluctuations that occur each year in the college application process.
Here's what it can do for you:
Openings for Qualified Students Search by state/country for NACAC-member colleges and universities that are still accepting applications for Fall 2014 freshman and/or transfer admission. Then click on the “Contact Info" link if you would like more information from the college/university about how to apply. Many colleges are added to the list after the initial May 1 deadline, so be sure the check back.
Also, there is a very helpful Fact Sheet that interestingly notes . . .

Survey in Brief: NACAC's annual Space Availability Survey: Openings for Qualified Students polls NACAC's member colleges and universities each year to determine whether institutions can still accommodate applications for prospective students for fall enrollment after the May 1 National Response Deadline. For fall 2014, 375 colleges and universities have either freshman or transfer space available as of the initial May 2nd deadline for the survey. The colleges still accepting applications represent 48 states plus DC, as well as 8 countries. A total of 18 international colleges are represented.

Number of Colleges With…

– Freshman space available: 362

– Transfer space available: 374

– Institutional financial aid available: 373

– Housing available: 354

There are also some highly informative Frequently Asked Questions, which provide valuable information. For example:

Is space on four-year college campuses in the United States increasingly scarce?

– It is difficult to definitively answer this question based on the results of this survey. The survey is voluntary, and the population of potential respondents is limited to roughly 1,200 U.S. NACAC member four-year colleges (leaving about 1,000 U.S. four-year colleges unaccounted). In addition, the survey remains open after the initial May 3rd deadline, and additional colleges and universities typically join the list after the initial deadline.

How do students apply for admission at institutions listed on the survey?

– Students must contact institutions directly for application information. Listing on the survey implies only space available. Admission is contingent upon each institution's review of application information.

What percent of colleges listed on the survey are public/private colleges?

– 70 percent of colleges reporting space availability are private, and 30 percent are public.

How long will the survey be available to students?

– The survey will remain on NACAC's Web site (www.nacacnet.org/space). Throughout the next two months, institutions listed on the survey are asked to update their availability information. Students are advised to contact the colleges directly for the most up-to-date information.


So there you have it: A great resource to salvage what may have turned out to be a stressful college process for you this year. Be of good cheer. There's a solution to your problem, if you have one. NACAC to the rescue.


Be sure to check out all my college-related articles at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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