It has been very exciting to read about all the wonderful acceptances for kids on these boards- how gratifying to hear from schools that they "really, really like you!"
But of course it can be a crapshoot and it is possible that someone has not recieved any acceptances as of yet ( although they may once the waitlists move) and is tearing their hair out wondering what to do.
aside from taking a year off to work & save money or participate in one of the many gap year programs- I wanted to put a plug in for applying to a local public school with rolling admit or even gasp a community college.
My daughter as you might remember was attending a top LAC- where she was majoring in biology. Because we needed financial aid for her to graduate- when she needed to retake a course- she was forced to come home to attend the local CC as the local university wouldn't let her attend unless she formally transfered ( which her LAC didn't want her to do)
Anyway- while yes it is true in general the students aren't as academically minded ( it takes some a while to get focused) and it is true that the lab facilities are hard to compare to her college ( which has recently plunked $$$$ into the labs) the instruction is great- her OChem lab instructor teachs at a competitive science program summers for high school students & seems to be quite tickled to have someone of her background. Big ego boost for her-
She is having to be much more independent in her lab work- instead of a lab partner she opted 2nd quarter to do it on her own- as she was always having to reexplain what the procedures were. However she has met several people who have degrees from well known schools and who are changing careers so it isn't without intellectual stimulation. There also is something to be said for attending a more 'diverse' school. This is the first public school she has ever attended- and CCs are often where top international students attend to save some money- it has been much more diverse than her K-12 schools or even her college.
So if forced to because of lack of choice or money- don't count out a community college- you can get a decent and perhaps very good education and get impressive skills to transfer.