Given the plethora of options available, it’s common for your preferred college or university to shift from month to month, week to week, or even day to day. Even after you decide conclusively on a particular school, many unforeseen factors can encourage or force you to change your mind.
Perhaps you’re offered an unexpected scholarship at a different college or perhaps personal or family issues arise without warning. Whatever the reason, keep the following in mind if you have to make a last-minute change:
A change is not necessarily a loss
When carefully made plans fall through and alternate plans must be arranged, it’s easy to regard the change as a disappointing loss—but this is very likely not the case. Since choice is inherently limiting (consider all the things you’re not choosing!), new plans reopen many options and opportunities that the original plans may have precluded. So, do your best to remember the dreams and desires that attending your first college choice might have made unlikely. Perhaps this is merely a chance to reconsider those possibilities.
Many schools are still seeking students
While it may feel like your change of plans came too late to allow for strong alternatives, certain colleges and universities continue to enroll students during the spring and summer months. Even if matriculation is just several weeks away, these schools are often happy to work with you in your personal situation.
Admissions personnel can discuss your options with you, including late application requirements, the availability of financial aid, orientation and registration, etc. They often have your best interests at heart, so it’s never a poor idea to at least inquire about openings.
Participating in a gap year can be a viable option
In today’s employment market, there’s a great deal of pressure to complete a college degree and distinguish yourself in the workforce as quickly as possible. However, there’s no rule that high school graduates must attend college immediately after senior year. If you’re unsure of what you want to do, but have an eye on a certain short-term opportunity or volunteer program, now is a wonderful time to explore.
If you have marketable skills and the ability to utilize them immediately after high school, you should think seriously about doing so. The exposure and added maturity will likely benefit your college experience in the long run. Many current college students who took a gap year between high school and university count it as a positive experience for which they are grateful.
Remember, no choice is final. A change of plans can be—and often is—the rescue of other, better plans.