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What to do if you don’t get the College or Course (Degree Program) of your choice?

What to do if you don't get the College or Course (Degree Program) of your choice?

“College Admission Results Are Out And I Don’t have the college or degree program of my choice – What to do now?”Are you having similar thoughts? Here are few tips to make the best out of your admission results.

What to do if you don’t get the College or Course (Degree Program) of your choice?

Most of the college admission results are now out and millions of students would be ready to start their college journey, either for Undergraduate degree or graduate degree, in a few months. Most of the students may have got their college and degree of choice but there would be millions who would not be happy with the results and may be wondering what to do now.

Here are a few tips for you if you are not satisfied with the college admission results i.e. your college or your degree choice

#1: You always have the option of applying again or transferring after 1-2 years: If you are studying in the US, Canada or some other country, many colleges allow you to apply as a transfer student.

Let me share a little secret with all the Ivy and top college aspiring students…..Sometimes, it is easier to get into top colleges as a transfer student than applying as a Freshmen or 1st year student.

The reason is purely based on competitive set of applications at the time of freshmen admission. Plus, you also have one or two year of college transcript to show how good you are in achieving academic record at college level.

What to do if you don't get the College or Course (Degree Program) of your choice?

A report by National Clearing House Research center showed that 30% or so students transfer college in the USA for reasons such as location, weather, better college, aid etc.

In countries such as India, you always have the option of applying again after an year to your college of choice or appearing for the joint entrance tests. There are hundreds of thousands of students who do not clear these test examinations in first attempt but never give up. They are able to qualify the next time and get into their college, degree program of choice.

#2: Do not stress if you did not get into your degree major. You can always major/minor or take courses in your area of interest after joining the college: Just like college transfers, there are options for students to transfer into another degree program after 1 year or 2 year. In the U.S, colleges have observed that 60% or so students tend to complete the degree in a different major than what they initially planned on attending. Many colleges in the USA and Canada provide a flexible coursework option where you can major in one area, minor in another area or take courses in your area of interest. The same holds true for students in graduate programs where they have flexibility in taking courses from other areas than their choice of specialization or research.

Secondly, as we all know, these degree and major matters only at the time of graduation. Majority of adults end up doing something not related to their college degree 20 years down the road after graduation. A study from New York Fed  in 2010 showed that only 27% of professionals work in the area of their major in college. (see Figure below)

What to do if you don't get the College or Course (Degree Program) of your choice?

If I take my example, I did my undergraduate in Electronics, did my MS in Computer Engineering, worked as a chip design engineer, worked in marketing in high tech company, spent some time in travel industry, worked with American Express for a long time and now doing my own venture in Edtech. I would say this is true for many of my classmates from college.

Lastly, you have the option to go for graduate studies in a different program and change your career direction. For example, many professionals join MBA program to do something else than what they did after their undergraduate.

#3: Your success in life and career will have limited co-relation with your college name and degree program: Your career is like a marathon race than a sprint. You will go through number of job and career changes over 30-40 years of your work life. And your success in your career will depend a lot more on your hard work, results at work, communication skills, networking, passion, leadership and luck. As we all know, there are thousands of corporate leaders, successful entrepreneurs who did not go to Ivy League or a top college. However, they have been successful because of their leadership, hardwork, passion and by driving results.

What to do if you don't get the College or Course (Degree Program) of your choice?
Keep trying, learning, working hard and moving forward

Tip#4: There are thousands of colleges around the world that can provide you a great education and learning. USA itself has more than 4000 colleges, including community college, and Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia has a few thousand more. They may not all be cheap but enough options out there…..You just have to spend time, ask and talk to others to find out more about the,

In summary, your college admission results are just the start of your next phase of journey and not the end. Good luck and do not hesitate to drop us an email at if you need any help, guidance or just want to get feedback on your decision.

Author: Ajay Singh

Ajay is the co-founder of Stoodnt and spent 20+ years in senior leadership roles with companies such as American Express, Cendant and Intel prior to starting Stoodnt. He has a M.B.A. from Harvard, M.S. in Computer Engineering from U.T. Austin and B.Tech from I.I.T Roorkee (India).


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