This year's college acceptance season has been rough, with many universities across the country announcing record-breaking low acceptance rates. If you didn’t get into many schools, it’s likely you’re not alone.
As acceptance season draws to a close, many students are beginning to decide their futures. There are a lot of options out there if you didn’t get into your dream, or even target, schools. And a lot has likely happened since last fall — maybe your interests have changed.
Here are some of the things you should think about when deciding what’s next for you.
During the pandemic, many college students have opted to take a gap year and defer their acceptance. For many of them, a gap year is an opportunity to reconsider their personal interests, especially after a long period of virtual learning.
In planning a successful gap year, you should work towards achievable goals. If you’re not sure how to do this, one option is to enroll in a curated gap year program.
But of course, before finalizing your decision, it’s also important to understand your college’s policy on deferred admission if you decide to commit to a school.
For many students, community college provides an affordable and accessible path to higher education. With a less costly barrier of entry, students can develop diverse interests, while earning their associate’s degree.
And specifically for students in California, they have a guaranteed spot to transfer to participating four-year colleges in the California State University and University of California school systems.
Many community colleges are open for enrollment all year — as long as you enroll before the start of the semester. And you can also take advantage of free tuition options.
If the career you're pursuing doesn’t necessarily require traditional schooling, you could consider trade school. These programs often provide hands-on-education to prospective students, setting the foundation for graduates to enter the skilled workforce.
At trade schools, you can earn vocation-based certification or associate's degrees. Some trade schools offer year-round admissions, and are still a viable option for current college students, too.
Entering the Workforce
Especially during the pandemic, increasing numbers of students are opting for employment over college education.
If interested, you should first gain experience in the work environment. For example, you can spend a gap year interning in a field of interest. This can help with deciding on a major that you’re passionate about.
Entrepreneurship and starting a small business could also help you build fiscal experience, while building your practical portfolio.
Reconsider Safety Schools
Though not necessarily the first choice, safety schools can often provide for a better, more satisfying educational experience. Safety schools can also be a better financial fit for families. Before committing, make sure to revisit the pros of your safety schools — they may surprise you!
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with going to a school that isn’t your dream school — making the most of your educational career is up to you.