This week Monday was “D-Day” aka “Decision Day” or “Deposit Day” for college-bound high school students, their parents and college admissions counselors. However, that does not mean that the college admissions cycle for freshmen is totally closed.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has released its College Openings Update, which will be periodically updated until July 1st. In addition, college admissions offices are still considering applications from prospective transfer students.
The College Openings Update is quite useful. It will tell you not only if a school has vacancies, but also if financial aid and housing will be available. There is a downside to applying later: financial aid awards might not be as large as applicants might like and the housing might not be an applicant’s first choice. Then again, those who committed to a college on time should receive first crack at both.
More than 300 schools are listed on the College Openings Update as of today. Some will come off the list through July 1st. Others will be added. College admissions offices at many schools face “summer melt.” Students who deposited on or before May 2nd might be offered space off a wait list at another school. Other students may decide to take time off. Still others might decide that college is truly not for them. Few college admissions officers can confidently state that their freshman class is filled for the fall, even if their school does not appear on the College Openings Update.
Aside from summer melt, why might schools be on this list?
College admissions is a fascinating business, a blend of the best and some of the worst practices in marketing and human resource management. It is a major challenge to know what’s on the minds of teenagers while also trying to sell the merits a school to their parents. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said that a great advertising executive is “a killer and a poet.” The same can be true of the best college admissions directors and enrollment managers. Their work is as much an art as it is a science.
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