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Articles / Applying to College / Summer Acceptance for Rejected Applicant?

Summer Acceptance for Rejected Applicant?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | May 26, 2011

Question: I've heard that if you are denied by a university but call them toward the end of summer (late July to early August), spots often open up, and they may review your application again, even though the waitlist has been closed. Is this true? The university I'm specifically referring to is Notre Dame, which has released their waitlist because the class filled up during regular admissions. If I call, could I have a shot? And who should I talk to?

Once in a blue moon, a true story will circulate about a student who was denied by a first-choice college and who made such a compelling case for reconsideration that he or she was ultimately admitted. But this is a rare occurrence indeed. College admission officials prepare for what they call “summer melt” by accepting or waitlisting enough students to fill any last-minute vacancies that might crop up when enrolled applicants decide to bail out at the 11th hour. (Although colleges may officially terminate waitlist action by July, they typically hang onto the names of a couple waitlisted applicants who will be contacted in case of a summer melt emergency.) Even when admission folks grossly underestimate the number of students they will lose in July or August (which doesn’t happen often), it is still highly unlikely that they will fill this void with a student who was denied outright in the first place (or they may fill it with the rejected offspring of some disgruntled alum who has been making their lives miserable for months!).

However, when it comes to dream colleges, never say never. If you really want to go to Notre Dame, you should feel free to telephone the admission office in early August. Ask to speak to the representative who oversees applicants from your high school. If he or she is not available, ask for any senior admission official. (If you are student of color, you can speak with the diversity counselor.) Be prepared to explain why you should be accepted, citing specific ways that Notre Dame is a good fit for you both academically and personally and pointing out how you could contribute to the ND community. If you don’t require financial aid, be sure to say this, too. Also be prepared for yet another rejection, because that’s most likely what you’ll get.

Good luck! (You'll need it :( )

(posted 5/26/2011)

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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