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Articles / Applying to College / Reapplying Post-Rejection

June 20, 2007

Reapplying Post-Rejection

Question: I was rejected by NYU, which was my only college choice. If I reapply next year via Early Decision, will I have a chance of being accepted?

I'm sorry that you didn't get the news you wanted from NYU. If you were to reapply Early Decision for next year, it is unlikely that anything would change. You really need to attend college elsewhere for at least a year, accumulate a strong academic record, and then apply as a transfer. The reason why I'm not optimistic about Early Decision is because, by the time your ED application is reviewed, you won't have yet received your first-semester grades from another college. Thus, the NYU admission folks will have little to go on other than the record they've already seen ... and rejected. However, if you apply REGULAR DECISION, as a transfer, they WILL be able to see what you've accomplished in the first semester at college.


Even if you haven't been accepted to any colleges, it's not too late. There are two ways to quickly locate colleges that might admit you now:

1) Use the National Association for College Admission's Space Available Survey at http://www.nacacnet.org/MemberPortal/ForStudents/2006SpaceAvailabilityResults.htm

As you'll see, here you can do a state-by-state search for colleges that are still accepting applications. Be careful to distinguish between available spaces for FRESHMEN (you) and for TRANSFERS ONLY.

2) Another way to search for colleges where deadlines have not passed is by using this College Board matching making tool: http://apps.collegeboard.com/search/adv_typeofschool.jsp

Select your preferences in all the various categories ("Type of School," "Location," etc.) Then, at the end, under "Deadlines," be careful to mark, "Regular application deadline or priority date hasn't passed." When you hit "Results," you SHOULD get a list of colleges that will still welcome your application. If the list is too limited, try changing some of your preferences before you hit "Results" again.

Don't worry that the college you attend will not be nearly as selective as NYU. As long as you do VERY well there and also distinguish yourself in some way OUTSIDE of the classroom (e.g. leadership role, interesting hobby or sport, even paid employment), then you should be in the running as an NYU transfer.

Finally, OCCASIONALLY students who are denied admission at a favorite college are able to reapply and get in after completing a successful "Gap Year." In other words, they don't attend college at all or they may take an evening or online class while pursuing some other worthwhile program, project, or job.

However, in most cases, admission officials will NOT admit students who were initially denied without some proof of ACADEMIC achievement.

Thus I urge you to consider applying to college for this coming September, even though it's late. Alternatively you can find another productive way to spend the year ahead and then apply not only to NYU but also to OTHER colleges that might be good matches for you as well.

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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