You hemmed and you hawed. You thought about it, dismissed it, and then thought about it again. You pestered your friends with questions about their plans and you obsessed over your options online.
And here it is, summer 2017, and you finally made your decision: You want to go to college next year. The only problem: it’s summer 2017.
Most of your friends applied during the winter. Most of them already got their acceptance letters and made their decisions. Did you wait too long? Did you miss your chance to get into a good school?
Good news: You didn’t!
You may not be following the traditional timeline, but that’s okay. There’s no need to wait another year, because college admissions are more flexible than ever.
Follow the five tips below to launch your higher education career right now.
1. Ask, It Can’t Hurt
You still have plenty of options for getting into college and starting in the fall. But if you have your mind on a specific college, you may be out of luck. Not every college can accommodate late applicants.
On the other hand, you never know. And the best way to find out is to ask.
Writing for College Parent Central, parent and educator Vicki Nelson suggests calling the school you’re interested in and (assuming you’re qualified) asking if they can squeeze you in last minute.
“Be prepared to explain on the phone, and then later in a letter, why [you are] applying late and why [you] would be a good fit for this particular school,” Nelson counsels.
2. Check the NACAC List
To help students in exactly your predicament, the National Association for College Admission Counseling keeps a list of schools that still have openings through the end of June.
Schools hoping to pick up a few more students for this year’s incoming classes use the NACAC list to promote their openings. If a school you’re interested in isn’t on the list, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck -—just refer back to tip #1.
3. Look for Rolling Admissions
Some schools discarded the idea formal application deadlines. Instead, they accept applications until they reach capacity. This is called rolling admissions.
Rolling admissions has its advantages for students:
- Typically, whenever you choose to apply, you’ll get a quick response—within two to three weeks of submitting your application.
- You can get an early decision (or, in this case, a late decision).
- If you apply late, you still have a chance of getting in.
The downside of rolling admissions is that once a school has reached capacity, the admissions window closes.
Also, rolling admissions schools usually do have a deadline for financial aid, so if you need help paying for school, it’s best to get your application in as early as possible.
Where can you find a school that uses rolling admissions? If you want to go to school in Indiana, consider these five institutions. Otherwise, several lists are available online:
- Top 25 Colleges With Rolling Admissions
- List of Rolling Admissions Schools
- Complete List: Colleges with Rolling Admissions
4. Head Overseas
This is may be an extreme solution, but if you really have your heart set on a great school, you’re all out of other options, and you have an adventurous spirit, many European colleges continue to take applications well into the summer.
U.S. News and World Report points out that the traditional application window in Germany, for example, is from June 1 to July 15. English-speaking university programs abound across Europe, from Spain to Poland to Bulgaria. Another bonus: the application process is usually far simpler than for an American school.
However, if you plan on transferring back to the U.S., your European credits may not all come with you.
5. Consider Community College
Community college is a tried-and-true option for college applicants who waited too long, weren’t accepted to any of the schools they applied to, or who are just hoping to save a little money for a year. Community colleges usually accept students up until classes start.
Many successful college graduates start at community college. In fact, the number of students transferring from community colleges to four-year schools is on the rise. The Community College Research Center reports that among all the students who completed a four-year degree in 2016, 49% had been in community college during the previous 10 years.
Are You Still Looking for a School?
Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne accepts applications on a rolling basis, with a priority deadline on August 1. If you’re afraid you missed the boat on applying to colleges, get in touch with us. We might still have a place for you.
Learn more about IPFW by downloading the Viewbook.