Didn’t Make a College Choice Yet? There are Still Options

My daughter, a high school senior, came home recently and said she had a friend who not only hadn’t selected a college yet, but hadn’t even applied.  She assumed that his only option left would be to attend a local community college.  Not necessarily so.  May 1 was National Decision Day, the deadline for students to notify major colleges of their choice.  In some cases, this is a pretty loose deadline.  A student who has not selected a college is not out of options.

What Options are Still Available?

  1. Some 4-year colleges are still taking applications – According to a New York Times Education blog post, More Than 200 Colleges Are Still Taking Applications for Fall 2013.  The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) keeps a Space Availability Survey.  This survey lists NACAC member colleges with space available and the survey is updated through June 28. Here are a few examples of what’s available.  Go to the survey to check other states. In Illinois alone, there are 11 colleges listing available space, available housing, and at least some financial aid still available.  Nine of these are private schools and two are public.There are 12 schools on the list in Wisconsin, all with financial aid and housing available, including Beloit College, Lawrence University and Marquette University, three national acclaimed schools.In Iowa, the University of Iowa still has a limited amount of freshman space and housing available, plus financial aid.
  2. 2-year community colleges and technical schools – Most of these schools have open admission, allowing interested students to register at any time up to the start of a new semester.  These schools can be a great way for a student to earn a 2-year degree or get started on a 4-year degree by taking general education requirements.  This option offers a large yearly cost savings over a 4-year school.
  3. Gap Year – It used to be that we just said the student “decided to take a year off.”  Now it is called a “gap year.”  There are varying opinions on whether or not this is a good idea.  The Gap Year has been a popular concept in Europe for quite some time, but hasn’t really caught on as a formal concept yet in the United States.  Here is a good post I found to learn more about when a gap year might make sense:  10 Reasons to Take a Gap Year.

If your undecided student is still interested in attending a 4-year school this fall, don’t delay.  Look up schools that still have availability and contact their admissions offices ASAP.  The right fit may still be waiting.  Otherwise, a year or two on a local 2-year campus, or even a gap year, might be just what your student needs to get closer to determining what path he or she ultimately wants to take.  Just make sure to keep the ball rolling.  Keep having conversations and keep helping to set up goals and action plans.

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