Decision Time?

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If you’ve applied to start college this fall, it’s likely that you’ve been waiting for this past week to arrive for quite some time. You’ve probably imagined the moment that fabled envelope plopped onto your doormat (or appeared online) a million times over. It’s likely that this imagined scenario involved a big fat whopping yes. All of your hard work has paid off and you’ve secured your place at the college of your dreams. Full steam ahead into adulthood! If all that’s gone to plan, then a huge congratulations to you. If, on the other hand, you received an invitation to join the waitlist or, even worse, an outright rejection, and that bubble of imagined success has well and truly popped, don’t despair – there are still things you can do to pursue your dreams of being part of a graduating class of the future.

On the waitlist?

While not an outright no, there’s a certain sense of purgatory attached to an invitation to join a college waitlist. Even though there’s still a good chance you’ll get in, you probably won’t feel like celebrating. In fact, you’re probably wondering how to feel! It pays to remember that some colleges use the deferment process in order to hit their enrollment goals in relation to class size and perhaps other priorities. While making sure that to do so is not legally binding, it’s a good idea to say yes to any invitations to join a waitlist.

Above all, now is not the time to check out. Significant factors affecting the college’s final decision can be directly affected by what you do now and in the coming few months (senioritis is not an option!). For starters, colleges will be keen to see demonstrated interest, so if you would definitely accept a place at a particular college, then the admissions reps should be made aware of that fact. Don’t be too shy to write a follow up letter; that might be all that’s needed to secure your place. Another important factor is that of academic performance. Imagine if your progression from the waitlist to a confirmed place depended on the grades you receive in your final few months in high school. Wouldn’t you just kick yourself if you let things slide now?

Thanks, but no thanks?

There’s no denying that an outright rejection can feel similar to being suckerpunched, probably when you were least expecting it. It’s okay (and entirely normal) to feel like that, so allow yourself to feel those emotions before you start planning your next steps. By this, we mean take a day or so to let the news sink in; we don’t mean retire to your bedroom for the next month to wallow in self pity (that won’t help!). It’s best to think of such rejections as a bump in the road rather than take it as personally as you would someone dissing your beloved grandma.

Once you’ve gotten over the initial shock, it’s time to start sorting out a new path. Where to start? Here are two options:

– The National Association for College Admission Counselling (NACAC) will publish their 2013 Space Availability Survey on May 3. This will provide a list of all those schools that are still accepting freshman applications for Fall 2013. There’s nothing to say you won’t find a place on a great course on one of the colleges on that list.

– Consider applying to your local community college. While it might not be the Ivy League school you had hoped for, do well enough and there’s nothing to stop you transferring a little way down the line. Plus you’ll probably save money in the meantime. It’s called turning a rejection into a win-win.

Roll with it

The college admissions process might not always pan out how you expect. It’s a bit like life itself in that way. The trick is to roll with whatever comes your way and make the best of it. Good luck!

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