What is the College Openings Update?

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Spring is in the air and it may seem like everyone around you has already made his or her college plans, with commitments signed, sealed, and delivered. In fact, with the passage of May 1st, National College Decision Day, it might seem like a door has closed. If you haven’t been offered a spot in an incoming class, or haven’t even applied to college yet, you might be starting to panic.

 

We have good news for you, though. A little known tool called the College Openings Update is available, and it is bound to open doors for students who thought they were too late. If you still don’t know where you’re going to attend college in the fall, this invaluable database could be just the tool you’re looking for. To learn more about the College Openings Update, don’t miss this post.

What Is the College Openings Update?

The College Openings Update is an annual list of colleges that are still accepting applications from prospective freshmen and/or transfer students for the upcoming fall term. This list has been released annually for 32 years by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

 

It’s important to know that only schools that are NACAC member colleges can participate, so the list is not entirely comprehensive. There may indeed be other schools with space still available, but the College Openings Update provides one of the most extensive listings of schools with availability.  

When Is the College Openings Update Available?

The College Openings Update is released at the beginning of May each year after National College Decision Day, the deadline by which most schools require accepted students to commit to attending. In 2019, it opened on May 3. The list continues to be updated as more colleges join, so checking it once isn’t always an accurate picture of what schools are still accepting applicants.

 

The list remains open until July 1st. While some schools will continue to accept applications beyond this date, the College Openings Update will no longer be navigable after July 1.

How Can I Access the College Openings Update?

Students and college counselors alike can access the College Openings Update online under the Research and Reports section of the NACAC page. More than 400 schools have joined the listing for 2019 so far, and more will be added periodically as they choose to participate. Of the colleges on the list so far for 2019, 67 percent are private and 33 percent are public.

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How to Use the College Openings Update

The College Openings Update provides a user-friendly interface for searching through its list of more than 400 colleges that are still accepting applications. Users can filter their search by state and country, or by more specific details such as whether housing or financial aid is available, and what types of applicants are being accepted (freshman or transfer).

 

Interested students should start by browsing the listings according to their top priorities. Use the filter tools to limit results by financial aid status, if this is a primary concern. Then add other filters to reflect your preferences for geographic location and housing options.

 

Once you have compiled a list of schools you’re interested in, do some research into each to learn more about them. Some questions to ask yourself as you’re reviewing their websites might include:

 

  • Do they have programs of study that you’re interested in pursuing?
  • Is the school financially feasible for you and your family?
  • How does the size of the school fit with your preferences?
  • Based on test scores and GPA, how likely are you to be admitted?
  • Is the college in a setting that appeals to you?
  • Does the college offer the student resources that you anticipate needing?

 

If you can, meet with your college counselor to review the options that are still available to you. He or she may have invaluable insights into some of the schools that can help you to further refine your list.

 

Finally, be sure to contact each school you plan to apply to directly. At this stage, their application process may differ, so it is best to get in touch before submitting an application. You can find contact information for the appropriate admissions representative included with most listings in the College Openings Update. If no individual is listed, visit the admissions website and send an email to the generic admissions contact.

 

Creating a college list, even at this phase in the college application process, can be a delicate process, but it is one that pays off in dividends down the line. While it might seem like you are out of options, in reality there are more than 400 colleges with doors still open, and odds are there is at least one that’s a great fit for you and your family. For more help from the experts, consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s Applications Guidance service. Here, you will be paired with a personal admissions specialist who can provide step-by-step guidance throughout the entire application process, at any stage in the game including use of the College Openings Update. It’s not too late to get into a college that’s the perfect fit for you!

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.