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Articles / Admissions / Reapplying to Colleges that Said No

May 28, 2020

Reapplying to Colleges that Said No

Question: Due to my father's sudden illness, I am going to take a year off from college. Moreover, I no longer want to attend any of the southern schools that admitted me and would prefer to stay in the Northeast, closer to home. I plan to apply to the colleges that denied me admission in the spring. What can I tell them on my applications since my record has not changed? (My stats: Rank 28/430, SAT I 700 verbal, 800 math. MathIIc 800. Physics 730).

We're sorry to hear of your father's health problems and of the changes they have necessitated in your college plans. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the colleges that did not admit you last year will change their decisions when you reapply. As you say yourself, your academic record is the same. Obviously, you are a strong student, and if you were to publish a novel, win Teen Jeopardy or achieve something else quite exceptional during your year away from school, there's always a chance that an admission committee will reconsider, but don't get your hopes up.


Another long-shot strategy you can try is to write to these Northeastern schools and explain your situation. Volunteer to begin your college career in January, should any of their freshmen drop out during the first semester. Again, your chances are not good, but it might be worth the time it takes to write a letter or send an e-mail (especially if you do not need financial aid).

Your best bet, however, is to apply to some different colleges that aren't too far from home. With the record you've achieved, you should be a welcome member of many college communities, even if the schools you sought last year did not admit you. If you’d like additional assistance with the process, consider the counseling services offered by College Confidential. We can help you identify many excellent and prestigious places that would be glad to have you. You might even be able to wangle some "merit aid" which ought to bring a smile to your dad's face and hasten his recovery! Good luck to you and your family, whatever you decide.

Written by

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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