It may just be the end of January, but high school seniors are counting the days until the end of March when the majority of college admissions offices send out their coveted letter of admission or the polite letter of rejection. It is small comfort to know that only the April 15 deadline for income tax filing will ever cause them so much anxiety over a date again.
I always tell my clients not to expect to be admitted to every school to which they have applied. I urge them to have a back-up plan in their application process and always include a school that they are relatively sure they will get into – even though it may not be one of their top five choices.
If you do not get your first choice, all is not lost. You can always re-apply as a transfer student after completing a year or two at another school. Statistics show that transfer applicants have a better chance of getting admitted to top colleges than a student applying under regular admissions. At several schools, the odds increased significantly.
As you would expect, the total number of students applying to transfer is small. Fifteen percent of those students who elect to transfer were rejected from the college of their choice when they applied from high school. The number of transfer students is three times higher as compared to a decade ago.
Statistics show that transfer students are being helped in other ways. The number of openings at Harvard for transfer students has expanded 20 seats in recent years. This is due in part to an increasing number of students choosing to study abroad, which means that more dorm rooms need to be filled.
The key is to make good use of your freshman and sophomore college years.
Join an activity that smacks of academic rigor. Think about publishing an article in a journal. Ask a favorite professor or grad assistant to assist you, especially if they are experts in the field you are writing about. Or, choose a student partner to co-author your article who has skills you might not possess. Together, you stand a greater chance of being published. Do not hesitate to correspond with experts in the subject area you are writing about because you may be able to develop relationships that will pay dividends in your academic development and career aspirations.
Next, find an expert in a field that interests you at the transfer school you wish to attend. Let them know that you are eager to change universities in order to study under him or her. Explain how your goals can best be met at that school and ask for their advice in the re-application process.Try to address any perceived weaknesses in your prior application and when re-applying to your dream college say what has made you a better candidate. Schools will appreciate your determination and commitment to their academic program.Even though you were rejected the first time you applied, it is possible that this time the odds will be stacked in your favor.