May is always an interesting month. The days are lengthening and the weather is getting warmer, pointing everyone’s thoughts toward summer. At the same time, for students are mired deep in testing overload with SAT, ACT, AP, Subject Tests, SBAC tests for younger students, and exams are looming. Before making it to summer, we have high school graduations and the inevitable question of “What are you doing next year?” For students whose future plans are still unclear, I have some good news. Every year in May NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) publishes a list of colleges that are still accepting students for the next fall. The list also indicates whether or not these schools have financial aid and housing available. This year’s list is available at the following link: https://www.nacacnet.org/news–publications/Research/CollegeOpenings/
There are a few ways that you can use this list. First, if you aren’t happy with the schools that accepted you or were unable to get on campus housing at the school you will be attending, you can look for other options. It is important to remember that where you start college isn’t as important as where you finish your undergraduate degree. Transferring can be a great opportunity to try to get into your preferred school. After you have 30 college credits, most colleges will look at your college transcript and will no longer consider your high school transcript and SAT or ACT scores as strongly. This means you can have the opportunity for a fresh start. If you already know that you aren’t excited about where you might be going next year, take this time to examine other opportunities that are still open to you.
Another way to use the list is to help you with financial aid. Check and see if the school you will be attending is on the list. If they are on the list and it shows that they still have financial aid available, then you might want to reach out to the school to see if they could review your financial aid award. If you haven’t already, this would be a good time to present an extenuating circumstances appeal. You will need to provide them with reasons that they should improve your aid award, such as high unreimbursed medical expenses, change in employment status for your parents, or any other number of unusual expenses. While these appeals are not guaranteed to be successful, the worst they can do is say no. If they do, then you are simply in the same position that you were when you started the appeal.
Doors never completely close, and it is important to understand that with some careful planning you can give yourself some great options. And remember that at the end of the day, the whole college process usually does work out. Keep your head in the game and don’t worry if you don’t have everything lined up perfectly just yet. Use the information that’s available to start creating options for yourself!
Still in high school? Look for our next couple of articles in which we are going to focus on helping juniors start their college search.