For the many high school seniors who faced disappointment and did get admitted to a college or university this past April, a panic has set in thinking that they lost out for the next school year. That is not true over 250 colleges and universities still have spaces for students to apply for the fall 2014 semester. The National Association for College Admission Counseling's (NACAC) annual "College Openings Update" www.nacacnet.org was released in on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 and will continue to be updated until the end of June. This annual list formerly called "Space Availability Survey," lists all the universities that still are accepting students, and includes their financial aid and housing information. Predominantly the list compromises private colleges, although some public state universities still has space. While most on the list might just have a couple of spots still available, the opportunity is still there for new freshman and transfer students.
The list of private and public universities predominantly in the U.S., but also Canada and Europe includes some big names; Sarah Lawrence, Ohio Wesleyan, Baylor, Xavier, and the University of Vermont and major state schools Arizona State, Colorado State, Illinois State, Southern Connecticut State, and the University of Iowa. The listed is regularly updated until June 30, 2014. The rarely used list might surprise students and their parents, who thought the application deadlines, where jut that the last chance to apply for the fall semester. However, some colleges have year round rolling admissions. The Chief Executive Officer of NACAC Joyce E. Smith explained this process; "Part of demystifying college admission is understanding that, for many institutions, the application process is a year-round endeavor. Some colleges accept applications throughout the year, while others may continue to have openings available even after the May 1 national response deadline."
By no means does the availability of space imply that theses colleges and universities are any easier to be admitted to than they were in the regular application cycle. Students will still have to complete a quality application, and they would have to put it together and send it in quickly, because space is limited and time of the essence. The vice president of enrollment at Seton Hall University Alyssa McCloud told US News that "This time of year, there is a lot of need for urgency. So, we can't wait six weeks for them to get us a recommendation form or transcript, so they have to try to get everything to us quickly and preferably all at once."
The list also includes information about financial aid availability. By the late spring and summer most colleges and universities have limited merit based aid and scholarships available. Students need to consult directly with the institution to see if there are any accommodations. Two schools; University of Florida and Whitman College clearly state that do have any aid available. If merit based aid is no longer option there is always federal financial aid, which students can apply to free of cost using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
While the list gives students who over reached in the goal with the first round of universities they applied to and do not the safety school they were accepted to, the list also indicates that these universities are in trouble. While Ivy League and elite universities see their application numbers rising and admission rates falling these universities cannot fill up the spaces they have each year.
Most of these institutions do not expect a lot of applications in the spring for the few spots available; mostly because students are unaware they still have options. The vice president for enrollment management at Mount St. Mary's University Michael A. Post explained to the Chronicle of Higher Education that for the universities "Being on the list is a service to the counselors we work with." It is the school guidance counselors that are most aware of the list and the last resort options seniors or transfer students still have.
The director of admissions at Ashland University, in Ohio W.C. Vance commented to the Chronicle of Higher Ed about just how underused the list is, saying; "I've never once had a student reference this list. I wish students knew about it." However, Vance would be enthusiastic about accepting "strong applicants" even at this late date; "I'd take 'em; I'd take a hundred." The colleges and universities though are not desperate just because they still have space, and not just going to accept anyone as Vance concluded; "Just because a student is late doesn't make me want them more."
Students need to advantage of the help their guidance counselor can provide them. The most important advice, however, for late application is to speak with and remain "in contact" with an admissions counselor "throughout the process." McCloud advised; "Call the school in advance to ask if they have spots left and also let them know that you're sending the application so that someone is looking out for you." With few applications, the schools respond quite quickly and a qualified student may be admitted and on track to attend for the fall semester just like all regularly admitted students in no time.
- College Openings Update: National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) www.nacacnet.org
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are academic & universities news, particularly history & library news.