Examples of Acceptance after being Rejected and taking a gap year

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has seen examples of people being accepted after getting rejected and taking a gap year to a top school (Ivys + Stanford etc.) I’ve been searching online and I can’t seem to find any.

Why would the decision change?

Now, if you take that gap year and do something substantive - and can demonstrate how this makes you a better candidate - perhaps.

But I would not take a gap year in hopes of reapplying - you are likely 99% chance wasting your time.

Look at it this way - lots go to Ivys or Stanford and crap out. I remember in my last job our administrative assistant was a Stanford grad - yep, booking travel, setting up meetings, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that but most don’t think of that from a Stanford Grad.

And people who go to no-name schools are CEOs.

What is it about the Ivys or Stanford that are worth taking a 2nd crack if the first didn’t work out?

I can’t answer for you - but I’m sure you are a name chaser and that guarantees nothing.

Do yourself a favor and find the right school for you - there’s a zillion out there.

Whether or not you take a gap year is up to you - but assume if you were given a decision by a school, it’s not going to change in a year.


Thank you for your reply, unfortunately you did not answer my question and instead decided to make assumptions about my aspirations instead. I would simply like to know if it is a possibility, with substantive growth or without it, has it ever happened? perhaps with different essays, or higher scores?

A college will not change its decision because of an increase in scores or different essays. Maybe if you win an Olympic medal or cure cancer during the gap year there is a chance. Unless there is something identifiable and big I wouldn’t bother reapplying to the same colleges.


Yes it is possible…no idea how often it happens.

A good friend’s daughter didn’t get into UPenn. Went to washU and transferred to Penn starting sophomore year (no gap year). Another friend’s daughter didn’t get into Columbia. Took a gap year with some sort of travel immersion experience and reapplied to Columbia and was accepted. My D applied to a T15 wasn’t accepted, went to a UK school freshman year, took a COVID gap (would have been her sophomore year)year and transferred to that T15 for sophomore year.

I think what you’d do during your gap year as well as how you package yourself via essays makes a difference.

You might consider whether a gap year is necessary. You could start somewhere as a freshman and then apply to transfer. If you read many of the T15 transfer threads on this website there are posters who transfer into ivies and the like every year.

Also consider the financial implications of transferring. If financial aid is important then the gap year route may make more sense.


I did answer -

No - except if you perhaps do something very substantive that would cause them to see you in another light.

Has it happened? I suppose - but unlikely often.

You might make an appointment with an admissions counselor at your schools of interest - and ask them the question. They’ll be best to answer for you.

I think this is a great question. I’ve been around here for several years (no, I don’t post much) and I read a lot of posts about gap years and trying to get into T20’s. Without any data, I can’t recal a single time that this route worked. I think it’s very rare and not worth it unless you have absolutely no other options. Love the school that loves you back. It’s very unlikely an Ivy or such is going to accept you on a second chance. (I’m sure it does happen, but it’s got to be rare)


Someone here posted recently on the Stanford REA thread who was accepted this year after being waitlisted and taking a gap year last year, I believe.

I do not personally know of any cases of this happening for undergrad. If it were to happen, I would expect that the student would need to do something quite significant in their gap year.

I have known lots of people who had attended lower ranked universities for undergrad (mostly but not always “top 100”) but who then attended Ivy League or Stanford or equivalent for graduate school. In many cases the student took a gap between getting their bachelor’s and applying for graduate programs, and what they did during that gap appeared to be a major part of what got them accepted to a highly ranked graduate program.


I know two people now at Brown who were both deferred, and then waitlisted but didn’t get in for freshman year, who reapplied for sophomore year and got in, though they both attended other schools as freshman and did well freshman year. One went to woman’s college and one to United Kingdom. Also, had the “benefit” of Covid year and kids not coming back after missing part of their in person freshman year. That first Covid year also know other students who bumped up to Georgetown and Vanderbilt from their state universities after being rejected for freshman year. Lots of movement, not sure if a one off. All these kids were well qualified to begin with but applied at extremely selective schools and missed the call as freshman but are doing well now as juniors (starting sophomore year).

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if you were rejected, I would suggest that you consider transferring after a semester or a year at your current school. Odds are less favorable, but you won’t be “wasting” a year if you don’t succeed.

At Harvard, as an example, the majority of those not accepted for EA were deferred. I believe only about 12% were rejected. This might mean chances of future acceptance would remain low.

I know of one person who applied more than once to Harvard, who is now automatically rejected because the school knows it is a repeat application. Not sure if that is a common situation (doubt it) but attending another school and then transferring might be a better option, as would grad school at a “top school.”

Let’s hope you have some schools you like, and can afford, as possibilities for this coming year.


I certainly wouldn’t delay my education for a year solely on the slim hope I would get into a certain school.


There are many occasions when a student is rejected, takes a gap year, and successfully gains admission to a college after that.

Are you asking about being rejected by Harvard for example, then reapplying to Harvard and being accepted? That’s extremely unlikely and I haven’t heard of that. There’s quite a famous story here on CC of a student who applied to mostly top schools and was rejected at all. He took a gap year, applied to MIT, among others, and attended MIT. He applied to Princeton and was rejected again, if I recall.

He did a lot of meaningful activities in his gap year and approached his list with a new outlook, primarily in that he was very thoughtful about where he applied. It worked for him. The best option is to ensure you have a realistic list of schools to apply to. It’s great to aim high, but understand that those schools only have room for a tiny fraction of students who apply. If the goal is to attend college, you can succeed at more than just the top 20, or even the top 100. Good luck.


As a note….Andison did not get accepted to any schools where he was rejected the first time. But yes, he did get accepted to MIT and graduated from there with both a bachelors and masters.

If you read the whole story, you will see that he had a very very well thought out and varied gap year. As a note, he was also a very well qualified applicant the first time….NMF, very high GPA and SAT scores. What he did was he ADDED to his already good admissions material during his gap year.


Adding the OP’s thread from the last time they asked.

Closing this thread since it was asked under a second account, which is not allowed.

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