Jack Ma once admitted that he applied to Harvard University ten times but received not one acceptance letter from it. And this might leave you wondering whether applying to the same college twice or more can do more harm than good or it’s just that the Ivy League wasn’t impressed with the Chinese business magnate’s application each time.
Students can apply to the same college twice. However, they can only do so for different terms, which means they can apply twice to thrice a year to the same college. Meanwhile, students who get accepted may send a deferral letter if they wish to delay their admission in order to avoid having to reapply.
In a raffle, the more tickets you buy, the higher your chances of winning.
Whether it’s because of this principle why you are thinking about sending an application to your dream school twice or you are just curious as to what could possibly happen, read on.
Can You Reapply to a College After Being Accepted?
It’s possible for students to reapply to a college after being accepted the previous year. If their reason for not attending the first time was to take a gap year, they should have a good reason for doing so. Otherwise, the admissions officers may no longer find their applications to be as impressive.
Just because a college sends you an acceptance letter doesn’t mean you should attend it.
You may choose to not go to it — unless, of course, if you applied to it Early Decision, which is a binding type of admission plan and the school that accepts you expects you to go to it.
Felt that you could use a gap year to pursue a life passion or save enough money for your education, which is why you didn’t grab the opportunity to attend the college that sent you an offer to enroll?
Fret not. You can reapply and may even wow its admissions officers with a productive gap year.
But there is a better way to handle this matter, and that is by sending the college a deferral letter. Simply put, it explains why you would like for your admission to be delayed.
Like a college application, a deferral letter can either be accepted or denied. If accepted, chances are that you will no longer have to reapply when you are ready to earn a degree. If denied, there is a huge possibility that you will have to reapply to it.
Needless to say, your application will be evaluated all over again just like the first time you applied.
Can You Apply to a College Twice in One Year?
Provided that they send applications for two different terms, students can apply to a college twice in one year. However, for some students, six months may not be enough to improve parts of their application that require time, such as standardized test scores, extracurriculars and work experience.
Some students may choose to take a gap year after failure to obtain an acceptance letter from their top-choice schools.
But then there are also those that refuse to take no for an answer, which is why they may try sending one application after the other to the school at the top of their college list until they get a yes from its admissions officers.
Provided that you apply to the same college for different terms, say, one in fall and another in spring, then there is nothing wrong with trying to apply twice to the same college. The same is true if the college has rolling admissions — however, consider applying early each time as rolling admissions works on a first-come, first-served basis.
In between applications, it’s a good idea to figure out the things that might have kept you from getting an acceptance letter the last time and do everything necessary to make them better the next time.
This is why, in some instances, you may find reapplying to the same college after a year a smarter move, as it will give you plenty of time to do the necessary improvements to your application. And also, keep in mind that you may also consider applying to another college that might find you a welcome addition to its studentry.
Can You Apply Regular Decision After Being Denied in Early Decision?
Instead of rejecting Early Decision applicants, most selective colleges with Early Decision plans defer them to the Regular Decision pool where their applications will be evaluated again just like everybody else’s. There are also a few selective colleges that only accept or reject Early Decision applicants.
What’s so nice about applying Early Decision is that you get to hear back from the college earlier.
It’s true that, at many colleges, Early Decision acceptance rates are higher than Regular Decision acceptance rates.
However, it doesn’t mean that the Early Decision acceptance rate at your top-choice school is 100%. It may be slightly higher alright, but admissions officers may also still send letters other than announcing one’s acceptance.
Besides acceptance, applying Early Decision may also result in a denial or a deferral. If denied, chances are that you will also get denied if you attempt to apply to the same college if you apply Regular Decision.
Meanwhile, if deferred, you may receive either an acceptance letter or a letter politely telling you to take your application elsewhere. In any case, you may still consider sending an application to the same college the following term or year. But if it’s the selective kind, chances are you will simply encounter the same heartbreaking scenario all over again.
Can You Withdraw a College Application and Reapply?
Students can withdraw a college application and reapply some other time without any trouble. As a matter of fact, it’s customary for students who get accepted into colleges via Early Decision to withdraw their applications from others. They may transfer to them in the future should they decide to do so.
Applicants can withdraw their applications at any time, and colleges understand this perfectly.
There are many reasons why students may decide to withdraw their college applications. One of them has something to do with the cost of earning a degree — if, for instance, they learn that the financial aid package offered to them is not enough to cover most of the costs, then it’s perfectly fine for them to withdraw their applications.
Fret not if you feel you have to withdraw yours for any valid and perfectly understandable reason. That’s because the college won’t see it as an act of burning bridges and will evaluate your application fairly, as usual, the next time.
Just Before You Reapply to a College
It’s perfectly fine to apply to the same college twice or more, but only for different terms. But you can only apply to a college too much even if there is no limit to the number of times you can do so — in many instances, applying several times to the same college is just a waste of precious time and money.
Attending a different college after being rejected by your top-choice school is actually a smart move. It will take you a step closer to being a degree holder, plus you can try transferring to the college that rejected you after a while.
But if you feel that you have to reapply to the same college, keep the following in mind:
- Write new admissions essays. Submitting previously submitted admissions essays can lead to disastrous results, especially if they’re the reason why you got a denial the first time.
- Obtain new recommendation letters. If you feel that the teachers who wrote your first batch of recommendation letters failed to highlight your potential, consider approaching other teachers.
- Retake the SAT or ACT. Does the college consider standardized test scores and you are not that proud of your recent one? Consider retaking the SAT or ACT.
- Enrich your non-academic factors. Having more remarkable extracurricular activities, volunteer work and work experience and showing more interest to attend can help.
Will taking a gap year lower your admissions chances?
Taking a gap year may have a positive or negative effect on one’s admissions chances. Someone who takes a productive and meaningful gap year can come up with a winning application. Meanwhile, someone who does not spend a gap year wisely may fail to impress admissions officers.
Can you apply to a college as a freshman even with previous college experience?
Students with previous college experience will be admitted as transferees instead of freshmen students. They may apply for the Fresh Start Program to get rid of old grades or GPAs they are unhappy with, thus allowing them to start all over again like freshmen students.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.