Preparing for College

Reapplying to Colleges that Said No

Question: Due to my father's sudden illness, I am going to take a year off from college. Moreover, I no longer want to attend any of the southern schools that admitted me and would prefer to stay in the Northeast, closer to home. I plan to apply to the colleges that denied me admission in the spring. What can I tell them on my applications since my record has not changed? (My stats: Rank 28/430, SAT I 700 verbal, 800 math. MathIIc 800. Physics 730).

We're sorry to hear of your father's health problems and of the changes they have necessitated in your college plans. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the colleges that did not admit you last year will change their decisions when you reapply. As you say yourself, your academic record is the same. Obviously, you are a strong student, and if you were to publish a novel, win Teen Jeopardy or achieve something else quite exceptional during your year away from school, there's always a chance that an admission committee will reconsider, but don't get your hopes up.

Another long-shot strategy you can try is to write to these Northeastern schools and explain your situation. Volunteer to begin your college career in January, should any of their freshmen drop out during the first semester. Again, your chances are not good, but it might be worth the time it takes to write a letter or send an e-mail (especially if you do not need financial aid).

Your best bet, however, is to apply to some different colleges that aren't too far from home. With the record you've achieved, you should be a welcome member of many college communities, even if the schools you sought last year did not admit you. If you’d like additional assistance with the process, consider the counseling services offered by College Confidential. We can help you identify many excellent and prestigious places that would be glad to have you. You might even be able to wangle some "merit aid" which ought to bring a smile to your dad's face and hasten his recovery! Good luck to you and your family, whatever you decide.