Students who wish to attend college after high school typically apply to a range of universities and, even if they don't get accepted by their first choice, they hope to have an acceptance at a school they would like to attend by graduation. However, some students only apply to one or two colleges and don't earn that coveted acceptance. If you didn't get accepted for the fall semester, there are still many options available to continue on your educational path, including the following ideas.
Apply to Additional Universities
Depending on when you receive the notice that you haven't been accepted to the colleges to which you applied, you might be able to submit some additional applications. This is especially an option to consider if you have a strong academic record and only applied to highly selective universities. Look to universities that have rolling admissions. If you decide to go this route, don't delay in completing additional applications, as many times admission are made on a space-available basis.
Attend Community College
An often overlooked option for high school graduates is to attend a two-year community college. As application deadlines typically fall shortly before the beginning of classes, you can often decide to enroll after you've learned that you haven't been accepted to a four-year college. There are some benefits to attending a community college. These include:
- lower tuition
- small class sizes
- opportunity to improve academic and study skills
- flexible class schedules
- might be local
The courses that you take at a community college will often transfer to a four-year university if you decide to reapply. These courses may replace the general education classes that you might have taken at a 4-year school. Once you take a required number of credits, you may no longer need to submit your high school transcript, so your work at community college will take priority for admissions decisions. Some community colleges even have agreements with local universities guaranteeing admission for those who meet certain academic standards.
Consider a Gap Year
Another option to consider if you haven't been accepted to college is to take a gap year, to give yourself an opportunity to plan your next step. Gap years can involve cultural travel and immersion, internships, career-specific education, or community service through a national organization like City Year. Gaining this type of experience can help you hone in on your career interests and develop hands-on contacts with those in a range of fields.
Utilize Credit-By-Exam Programs or Online Learning
If you don't want to fall behind on earning credits towards college graduation, you might look into earning some college credit through examination programs or by taking some online classes. Two popular credit-by-exam programs are the CLEP and the DSST. You can study on your own for these exams and take them at a testing center.
You can also think about taking some online courses through various providers. You may be able to take several general education classes that will transfer towards your general education classes when you do attend college.