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Articles / Preparing for College / Higher SAT's now. Can I reapply to a school that said no?

Feb. 13, 2012

Higher SAT's now. Can I reapply to a school that said no?

Question: I was denied for the fall term due to my low SAT scores. Am I allowed to reapply if I get better scores? The college has rolling admissions.

Officially you cannot reapply to a college that has already rejected you outright, even if it’s a rolling-admissions school. But … if your new test scores are significantly higher (e.g., if they've gone from the bottom of that college's typical admitted-student range to the top), and if your GPA is at or above the median, then it can't hurt to take another shot, as long as you steel yourself for a second rejection.


If your plan has the support of your guidance counselor, your best bet might be to have him or her contact the college on your behalf and cite the new and improved SAT scores. Your counselor should also explain how much you want to go there and why it's a great fit for you. If you’re willing to consider admission to a term other than fall (e.g., summer 2012, spring 2013), make sure your counselor mentions this as well.

If you don't think it's realistic to ask your counselor to go to bat for you, you can contact the college yourself. But, again, recognize that this is a long-shot. Admission folks don't have the time or energy to revisit applications they've already turned down, so you should expect a grim and perhaps even cranky response ... but, again, it can't hurt to give it one more try.

However, if your SAT’s, albeit improved, are still below the college’s median range or if your grades are no great shakes either, then it’s time to move on and to get excited about whatever colleges will welcome you.

(posted 2/13/2012)

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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