Preparing for College

Summer Acceptance for Rejected Applicant?

Question: I've heard that if you are denied by a university but call them toward the end of summer (late July to early August), spots often open up, and they may review your application again, even though the waitlist has been closed. Is this true? The university I'm specifically referring to is Notre Dame, which has released their waitlist because the class filled up during regular admissions. If I call, could I have a shot? And who should I talk to?

Once in a blue moon, a true story will circulate about a student who was denied by a first-choice college and who made such a compelling case for reconsideration that he or she was ultimately admitted. But this is a rare occurrence indeed. College admission officials prepare for what they call “summer melt” by accepting or waitlisting enough students to fill any last-minute vacancies that might crop up when enrolled applicants decide to bail out at the 11th hour. (Although colleges may officially terminate waitlist action by July, they typically hang onto the names of a couple waitlisted applicants who will be contacted in case of a summer melt emergency.) Even when admission folks grossly underestimate the number of students they will lose in July or August (which doesn’t happen often), it is still highly unlikely that they will fill this void with a student who was denied outright in the first place (or they may fill it with the rejected offspring of some disgruntled alum who has been making their lives miserable for months!).

However, when it comes to dream colleges, never say never. If you really want to go to Notre Dame, you should feel free to telephone the admission office in early August. Ask to speak to the representative who oversees applicants from your high school. If he or she is not available, ask for any senior admission official. (If you are student of color, you can speak with the diversity counselor.) Be prepared to explain why you should be accepted, citing specific ways that Notre Dame is a good fit for you both academically and personally and pointing out how you could contribute to the ND community. If you don’t require financial aid, be sure to say this, too. Also be prepared for yet another rejection, because that’s most likely what you’ll get.

Good luck! (You'll need it :( )

(posted 5/26/2011)