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Can You Reapply to a College? Exploring Your Options

by Arman Ali
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Can You Reapply to a College? Exploring Your Options

People are more educated than ever, especially young folks. While only 8.9% don’t have a high school diploma, 23.5% have a bachelor’s degree.

It all starts with the college application process when universities receive a flood of applications. They reject the vast majority of them, forcing applicants to look elsewhere. That said, can you reapply to a college if they turn you down?

Whether you’ve been rejected from your dream college or convinced you bungled your admission application, hope’s not all lost. Let’s look at your options.

Can You Reapply to a College?

There’s usually nothing stopping you from applying a second time to a college that rejects you. People do it all the time, especially after completing some higher education elsewhere. Admission odds make it possible for anyone to experience rejection, so it never hurts to try again.

If you ask a college admissions consultant why these rejections happen, they’ll tell you the following.

There’s No Space

You might meet all of a college’s standards and then some, but they simply don’t have space. If that’s the case, they may consider you in the future. They’ll probably tell you when you could possibly reapply or attend.

You Lack Qualifications

It’s important before applying to a college that you check the requirements. These could be requirements as simple as a minimum GPA, or something more complex like participation in volunteer work, honors societies, and so on.

Whatever the reason, your options are limited beyond boosting your qualifications.

REI Quotas

Some universities have quotas for having a specific number of minorities from a particular group. They have to fill that percentage before they can allow other group members in. If you are a member of a small minority group, this improves your chances.

However, if the quota is already full for your group, you may experience rejection. An earlier application for a future term may be the solution.

Poor Fit

Your qualifications might look good, and you may have the necessary gumption. Yet some educational institutions are looking for a very specific type of student and mindset. They want someone with the right sort of rigor, goals, and qualities like precociousness.

Simply put, you may just not be a good fit for the program. It’s unlikely that you could change that determination by reapplying unless you know what to change. In some cases, it may be best to take this decision as a sign that you are better suited for other things.

When and How to Reapply

So when do you ignore the initial admission decision and reapply for a college? Let’s take a look at a few situations where this could work out.

Become a Transfer Student

Sometimes, the college you have applied to would accept you if you had a bit more college experience under your belt. It’s very, very common for transfer students to get accepted after an initial rejection. These transfer students come from another college with more credits and experience under their belts.

Transferring is common in the academic world. So, don’t lose hope when you have to start at one college to shunt over to another later. Many of your credits should transfer and you won’t have to start completely fresh.

That said, don’t make this your entire plan. Some colleges won’t necessarily accept you because you took the time to skill up. Their initial rejection may have been for a reason that won’t change regardless of your experience level or qualifications.

Take a Gap Year

In situations where you were qualified but they didn’t have room for you, the best solution might be to take a gap year. This is just a year, or semester, where you don’t take any credits.

A gap year doesn’t mean that you sit at home playing video games all summer. It’s best to use this time wisely, both to make good use of the time and to bolster your application.

It’s highly recommended that you do some volunteer work abroad, or take part in an internship. Whatever it is, do something fruitful that’s independent of your education.

Many students, upon returning from their gap year, get an immediate acceptance. There is a small chance that the gap year solution could work if your rejection wasn’t based on capacity. Just

don’t hang your hat on it, and have a backup plan.

Appeal the Rejection

In some rare cases, educational institutions will allow you to appeal their rejection. The decision is final for the vast majority. An appeal usually only works if you accidentally submit the wrong information.

For example, suppose you gave them the wrong transcript and your real GPA is actually higher. In that case, submitting the correct transcript could very well result in an acceptance.

Barring incorrect information, chances are even slimmer that you could appeal a rejection on other grounds. It might be best to apply elsewhere.

Bulk Up Your Qualifications

If you are simply going to reapply for the next application period, then it’s time to bulk up your résumé. This means retaking the ACT and SAT tests for a better score, taking some advanced courses, or taking part in societies and projects. Whatever you can do that would improve your chances, do it.

If we are being fair, though, this is the least likely path to success. Few students can do enough to prove to a college that they are worth a second chance. Especially in just a handful of semesters or years.

Some snobby, elite colleges won’t give you the time of day. Forget them and move on to a school that respects your hard work.

Get Ready for College

Can you reapply to a college? In the vast majority of cases, yes. But getting an acceptance the second time will depend on several important factors.

Transfer and gap year students sometimes have a solid chance of getting a second shot. But for the rest, you’ll either have to beef up your qualifications, appeal the decision, or look elsewhere.

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