The Ivy Coach Daily

December 7, 2023

Can You Reapply to a College After Being Rejected?

Dartmouth Hall, with its white bricks and black shutters, sits beyond The Green at Dartmouth College.

Suppose you receive a rejection at the conclusion of the Early Action/Early Decision cycle. You might wonder if you can re-submit your application in the Regular Decision round in just a few weeks, hoping for a better result when RD decisions are released in a few months. So, can applicants reapply so soon after a rejection?

No, You Cannot Reapply Regular Decision After Being Rejected in the Early Round

After a rejection in the Early Action/Early Decision round, students cannot under any circumstances — reapply in the Regular Decision round. If a college denies your admission in the Early round, except for a couple of schools that allow for an appeal, that’s the final word on your candidacy for the year. The admissions committee took the time to consider your application to the Class of 2028, and they’ve spoken. You will not be a member of the school’s Class of 2028.

The Only Exceptions Are the Few Schools Which Allow for Appeals

Many students and their parents, who were not our clients, write to us at Ivy Coach in mid-December of each year asking how they can initiate the appeal process to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or another highly selective university. And do you know what we tell them? We tell them they can’t because there is no appeal process to any Ivy League school nor is there an appeal process to most highly selective institutions outside of the Ivies.

In fact, among our nation’s elite universities, the only schools with an appeal process are the University of Southern California, the University of California schools, and the University of Texas at Austin. And if you’re wondering about your chances of successfully appealing a rejection to one of these schools, it’s between 1-2%, significantly lower than a deferred candidate’s chances of admission, typically around 10%.

But You Can Reapply the Next Year After Being Rejected

After a rejection, we at Ivy Coach encourage students to move on from that school, to focus their attention on their Early Decision II/Regular Decision list — and to reframe their candidacies so they don’t face similar results in a few months.

But students can still reapply next year to the school they set their sights on. Indeed, over the years, we have helped students who first came to us after receiving an Early Action/Early Decision rejection earn admission the subsequent year.

If you’re wondering if, the following year, the school will review your previously submitted application, some schools will, and some schools won’t take the time. You can’t predict which schools will go through your previous application and which will not. But all schools will ask on their transfer applications if you previously applied.

Two Paths for Reapplying the Following Year

Such students who choose to reapply can do so through two paths:

1. Reapplying After a Gap or PG Year

They can reapply after taking a gap year or pursuing a postgraduate year (many boarding schools offer PG years). Between these two options, we at Ivy Coach would always prefer students pursue a PG year than take a gap year. The reason? The further a student is removed from a high school curriculum, the more anxious admissions officers at elite universities become about how ready they are to resume their studies at their institution.

2. Reapplying As a Transfer

But, typically, the best option to reapply to that school is through the transfer admissions process. Through this route, the student will simply attend the best school they earned admission to in the spring and then submit a transfer application to the school that denied their admission in the Early round the following spring. It’s the most straightforward path forward for dissatisfied applicants who still dream of earning admission to the school that denied them outright.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance Moving Forward

If you received a rejection in the Early Action/Early Decision round of admissions, you’ll likely want to learn what went wrong with your candidacy to reposition your case for admission to other elite schools in the Regular Decision round.

And if you still wish to reapply to the school that denied your case for admission in the Early round next year — after either a gap year, a postgraduate year, or as a transfer candidate — we at Ivy Coach can help reframe your case for admission so you can optimize your chances for admission the next time around.

It all starts with a PostMortem application review. If you’d like to learn more about our services for denied candidates, fill out Ivy Coach’s complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to delineate our college admissions counseling services for denied seniors.

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