Your Guide to Reapplying to College After a Rejection

Did you not receive an acceptance letter from your dream school?  Don’t fret! Reapplying to college after rejection may be an option. But, here are a few things to keep in mind and to do in the upcoming months before reapplying to college after rejection.

Can You Reapply to a College After Being Rejected?

In most cases, yes! You can usually reapply to a college after being rejected. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, so you will want to ask the admissions office about their procedures for reapplying before potentially wasting your time on another application. 

Should You Reapply to a College If You’ve Been Rejected in the Past?

Two grey stampers, one says Approved, the other says Denied.

Flickr user Joel Kramer

Now that brings us to the question – just because you can, does that mean you should? It’s extremely important to have the right outlook during this process – many students who do reapply are not accepted the second time around. A year is rarely enough time to give their application the boost it needs to get that acceptance letter. 

On the other hand, though, there’s always a chance. And, if you’re set on trying to attend a particular school, you may want to roll the dice. But keeping your expectations in check will help stave off disappointment if you do happen to receive a rejection letter a second time. Don’t despair though – we give some tips below to help make your second application shine.

Tips for Reapplying to a College

If you do decide to reapply to a college at a later date, there are a few things you need to do (and not do) to improve your chances.

1. Try To Avoid Taking a Gap Year

Even if you didn’t get into your first school of choice, take a look at your other options. If you’ve received other acceptance letters, what was your second choice? You may want to go there in the fall or even to a local community college. This gives you a chance to show your first choice that you are serious about your education while also allowing you to raise your grades, take part in extracurricular activities, and get a head start on your degree.

Taking the year off may seem like a waste of time for some colleges. That is why it is highly recommended to avoid this. However, if you do decide to take a gap year, take this time to apply yourself. This could include traveling, volunteering, or other activities that show your college of choice that you are growing as a person.

It’s highly recommended though that you don’t take a gap year if possible, even if you’re volunteering. You want to spend the year strengthening your application.

2. Retake the ACT or SAT

The ACT or SAT isn’t only for high school! You can’t change your high school grades, but your previous test scores may have been a shade short of what your college of choice looks for. Take them again to see if you can improve upon them and it may provide a boost to your next application.

3. Don’t Submit the Same Application

When it’s time to reapply to college, make sure to approach it differently. Do more research into what the school is looking for and plan accordingly. If they’re looking for a higher SAT score, for example, retake the test. Your essay should also be rewritten. Try to show the growth and education you’ve undertaken in the past year. Another option is asking different teachers for recommendation letters.

Your previous application was denied for a reason, so it’s important to take a different course for the next one.

4. Apply Yourself

The most important thing you can do during the year spent away from your first-choice college is apply yourself to your work. Whether you decide to take the gap year and travel, or go to another school, take this time to grow. Reflect on your application, high school grades, activities, and more to see what you can change when you go to reapply. Attempt to raise your academic record while also taking part in extracurricular activities around the school or community.

Although you may have not received an acceptance letter for your first choice of college, there are plenty of chances for you to take this year as a time to grow. Experts recommend that you attend another school for your freshman year. This will show your dream university that you are on track to achieve great things in your life as well as your dedication to your personal growth. Keep in mind though, throughout this process, that a second rejection letter is a high possibility, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance.

Find the Right College Match

If you didn’t get into your dream school, you have to review your options. College Raptor’s College Match tool allows you to input your information to find the best schools for your needs, wants, and goals. The resource can also help you strengthen your future application by showing you how you measure up to accepted students!

One thought on “Your Guide to Reapplying to College After a Rejection”

  1. Lloyd says:

    Do colleges really think this way? It is more than reasonable to ask someone to improve their SAT or ACT score. Even the over all price of college is fair. But to shun someone who didn’t want to foolishly throw themselves in to debt right away, didn’t receive the proper information, or was dealing with chaotic living environments is ridiculous. I don’t want to act as if you have any influence on this confusing standard, and I acknowledge you’re just warning people. d

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