National College Decision Day Global College Advisers

National College Decision Day – Time to Reflect on College Admissions

National College Decision Day is around the corner. To be exact it is on May 1st. This date is the ‘official’ deadline for high school students to accept their admissions offer (if they haven’t done so earlier), and commit to enrolling at a particular university by paying the enrollment deposit. It’s a big move for the students as well as the whole family.

It’s time we take a step back and reflect on a process that can easily spiral out of control if unrealistic expectations have been set.

The College admissions process has been a competitive and stressful one for quite some years now. As the world becomes increasingly competitive, however, the pressure on high school students to gain acceptance into their dream college is at an all-time high. Many students are left disappointed, and their self-esteem seems to be tied to their admission results at this time of the year. Students and (especially) parents need to understand that college admissions have changed. What seemed to be more predictable years ago has turned into a volatile game of chance – depending on a student’s university choices.

College Admissions Today – A Rate Race?

It is important to remember that the college admissions process has become more competitive due to several factors, including the increase in the number of students applying to college, global competition, and the rise of the test-optional policy. More students than ever before are applying to college, with some colleges seeing a dramatic increase in applications from just the previous year. This increase in applications means that colleges have a bigger and more significant pool of highly qualified applicants to choose from.

The rise of the test-optional and test-blind policy, especially since the pandemic, has fueled the number of students applying to institutions they normally would not have considered. Making standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, optional was initially a policy implemented to help level the playing field for students who may not have had access to resources to prepare for these tests. However, this also means that colleges have to rely more heavily on other factors, such as grades, extracurricular activities, and essays to evaluate applicants. This can make the application process more subjective and unpredictable, making it harder for students to know what they need to do to stand out.

However, students and families need to remember that entering this figurative rat race for the ultimate dream college is voluntary and yes, it is real for the highly sought-after and very selective schools out there. With more than 2,500 institutions offering and undergraduate degree in the USA (NCES), there is an abundance of college choices out there beyond the highly ‘rejective’ ones.

In the end, it is essential to help students take a step back and reevaluate what it is they are aiming for and realize there are many ways to make their goal happen. The college a student attends does not determine their intelligence, worth, or potential. It’s what a student makes of the opportunities they are given that will determine their success later on in life. Students should focus on what they can control, such as their work ethic, attitude, and personal growth. They should remember that there are many paths to success, and college is only one of them. Redefining success beyond college acceptance at a particular college can help students view education as a tool for personal growth and development, rather than just a means to an end.

Other Paths to Get to the Finish Line

Rejection from a college can be a devastating experience for students who have worked hard and invested their time and energy in their academic pursuits. However, it is important to understand that rejection does not mean the end of the road. It just means going back to the drawing board and considering other paths to get to the finish line:

1-Gap Year

Taking a gap year. It lets students explore their interests and passions and gain real-world experience. During this time, they can gain life experience and skills that can be valuable in their future academic and professional pursuits. 

2-Community College

Another alternative path is to attend a community college and then transfer to a four-year institution. This not only saves money but also allows students to prove themselves academically and demonstrate their potential to colleges. 

3-Vocational Schools or Apprenticeships 

For many professions going to college is not an absolute necessity. Students might want to consider alternative forms of education such as vocational schools or apprenticeships. 

4-NACAC’s List of College Openings – updated daily!

Consider colleges and universities that still accept students, nationally and internationally. NACAC publishes a list that is updated daily with colleges that are still accepting applications. Some schools particularly smaller or less well-known schools may even still offer generous financial aid packages or have unique programs that could appeal to students. It’s worth taking a look!

In conclusion, the college admissions process has become increasingly challenging, and getting into one’s dream college is no longer a guarantee. However, it is crucial to remember that where one is admitted or not admitted does not define their worth. It is important to keep an open mind and not limit oneself by only considering a traditional path to get a college degree. Ultimately, the college experience is what one makes of it, and there are multiple paths toward achieving one’s academic and career goals.


Discuss your college options with us. Set up a 20-minute Discovery Call !



Make sure to sign up for our mailing list and receive updates, timely articles, and special offers for our college application programs.

* indicates required