7 Helpful Hints if You Don't Get into Your First Choice College ...


What should you do if you don't get into your first choice college? It's disheartening if you're not offered a place by the college that you've set your heart on, but there are still many options that will lead to a decent degree if you work hard. You may even be better off going to a different college; your first choice may not actually be the course or college that's best for you. Here are some hints on what to do if you don't get a place at your first choice college …

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Don't Panic

The first thing to do if you don't get into your first choice college is don't panic! It doesn't mean that your life has been ruined and that you'll never get a decent degree. You shouldn't feel that it reflects on you personally either; most good courses are oversubscribed. So the colleges have to choose from among the candidates, who may all be equally well qualified.


Phone Them

It's always worth talking to the Admissions Officer, especially if you're put on a wait list. If you've only missed the requirements by a short margin, they may be prepared to be flexible and still admit you, or ask you to retake some exams before applying again. You don't know unless you call them. They may also be able to advise you on other steps you can take.


Better Fit

At first it may seem that your hopes have been dashed when you don't get into your first choice college. But things may not be as bad as they seem. Your second choice could actually be a better fit for you. You may, in the long run, be happier either with the course or the college that is second on your list.


Late Deadline

You can also look at colleges that offer late admissions. Some even accept enrolment throughout the year. Do a search to find out which ones accept late admissions and if you find a course that interests you, give them a call.


Transfer Later

It may be possible to transfer to your first choice after you've done a year at another college. With some extra credits under your belt, you may reach the required grades to get onto your first choice course. Again, you should phone the Admissions Officer and ask.



You could also consider taking a sabbatical and reapplying next year. Taking a year out gives you time to evaluate your options. You may find that your interests change focus and you find a different subject more appealing. You could spend a year working, or you could improve your grades and then reapply to your first choice college.



There are also various options for finding out courses with vacancies. In the UK you should apply for Clearing through UCAS. If you live in North Carolina, you can use the College Redirection Module (cfnc.org). Check if there is something similar in your state.

Although it's disappointing if you don't get into your preferred college, you shouldn't despair. You still have many options, and you will find a course you're happy with at a college you like. Be prepared to spend some time on the phone in order to sort out a place. And enjoy college to the full! What is or was the best thing about college for you?

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