Applying to College Later in the School Year
Last updated August 17, 2023
With college application deadlines having passed for most schools, you may be asking, “Is it too late to apply to college?” Applying to college later in the school year is a common concern for students for various reasons. Maybe you missed the regular decision deadlines, you didn’t receive acceptance letters from the schools you initially applied to, or maybe you need more time to prepare for college due to personal or academic reasons. The good news is that you have options - it’s not too late to apply and get accepted to college! Here are some factors to consider when applying to college later in the school year.
What are the pros and cons of applying to college after the deadlines?
It can be useful to weigh out the pros and cons of applying to college later in the school year, to help you better prepare for when you’re ready to submit your applications. One advantage of applying to college after the regular decision deadlines have passed is that there may be more opportunities for financial aid or scholarships, as some schools may have unclaimed funding or additional aid available for later applicants. Applying later in the year can also give you more time to refine your college search and prepare your application materials.
However, it’s important to acknowledge the possible disadvantages when applying to college after the deadlines. For example, you may have fewer options for schools or programs to choose from, and some schools may have already filled their available spots for the upcoming academic year. The later application timeline can also mean a more limited selection of courses or housing options, especially if you're applying to a popular school or program. Ultimately, the decision to apply to college after the deadlines is a personal one, that should be carefully considered with you and a trusted adult like a parent, family member, teacher, or school counselor.
What colleges are still accepting late applications?
Wondering how you can apply to college later in the school year? Here are the options that you can explore to determine your best path forward:
Colleges with rolling admissions
Some colleges have rolling admissions - where they accept and review applications as they are received until all spots are filled. This means that you can apply to college later in the year and still have a chance of getting in. Different schools will have different time frames of when you can submit your application, and how long it will take to hear back from them. Check directly on the admissions website of the college you’re interested in for particular dates & deadlines.
Community college transfer programs
Community college is a great option to consider if you’re unsure about what you want to study or weren’t originally planning on applying to college. Attending community college for 1-2 years helps you knock out required classes before eventually transferring, get accustomed to the pace and workload of college classes, cut down on tuition costs, and receive a degree in a shorter time frame! Check out our guide on how to apply to community college to learn how to get started.
If you still have your sights set on attending a 4-year college, you can always transfer! Many community colleges have established transfer programs with partner schools that make the transition seamless and straightforward.
If you’re looking for practical, hands-on training that can prepare you for the workforce in 1-2 years, consider attending a trade school. Trade schools offer programs that prepare students for careers in fields such as healthcare, cosmetology, construction, or mechanics. Also, with careful planning and preparation students can continue their education towards a college degree after completing a trade school program. For example, you can go to trade school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), then move on to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at a four-year college. No matter what your career interests are, it's important to research trade schools thoroughly and consider whether the programs they offer align with your career goals.
Colleges with late application options
Some colleges offer late application options for students who miss the regular deadline, which varies depending on the school. Check out this comprehensive list of colleges accepting late applications, but always be sure to check with the specific college's admissions office for details.
How do I apply for college later in the school year?
Once you identified a college (or colleges) you can apply to, make sure you complete the following steps:
Gather and submit your application materials
This includes filling out the application form, writing essays (we can review your essay for free!), requesting transcripts and letters of recommendation, and submitting test scores. Be sure to check each college's specific requirements and deadlines to ensure that you don't miss anything. It may also be helpful to reach out to the school's admissions office for guidance and support throughout the application process.
Complete your FAFSA (it’s not too late!)
If you haven’t filed your FAFSA yet or you're still on the fence about it, don't worry - it's not too late! Completing the FAFSA can still open up opportunities for funding even after the college application deadlines have passed. Best of all, it's not a binding agreement, and you can still weigh your options and make an informed decision later on. If you need help getting started, some states offer year-round help - click here for FAFSA workshops by state to assist you in the process. Don't count yourself out just because you haven't completed the FAFSA! By taking advantage of these resources, you can still have a chance to receive financial aid, even if you're applying later in the school year.Don't let missed deadlines discourage you - it's never too late to pursue your academic goals and shape your future! You belong in college, and we are here to help you every step of the way. For more questions about jobs, scholarships, and financial aid, Click here to text one of our college advisors.