For most graduating high school seniors, the tale has been told. You've applied and been accepted to college, made your final decision, and, hopefully, searched for and found an abundance of scholarship money to pay for that degree.

There are of course those, who, waking up to the fact that high school is now coming to an end, have yet to apply to college. The procrastinators. The "hiding under a rock" gang. The "I only applied to one school and didn't get in" bunch.

Out of luck? Too late? After all, the May 1 deadline for admissions decisions -- that universal college acceptance day -- has come and gone, right?

Not so fast. The alternate universe of college admissions, where deadlines vanish like Botox-infused wrinkles, awaits!

Yes, there are colleges with rolling admissions, accepting applications until every last seat is filled -- sometimes well into the fall. But what about schools with those absolute, don't even think of missing 'em, deadlines? December 1. January 3. March 15. Done? Finished? Toast?

Well, to quote the great Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over!"

According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the folks who bring you those salmon-swimming-upstream college fairs, there are literally hundreds of colleges still accepting applications for the fall. Yes, THIS fall!

And they're not all colleges you've never heard of or couldn't see yourself applying to. Why, at least 60 of The Princeton Review "Best Colleges" grace the list, for whatever that may be worth to you!

Among the colleges encouraging the masses to submit that application, so called "hidden gems," where not only availability exists, but affordability awaits.

So, it would seem, good things actually do come to those who wait! Colleges that have yet to meet enrollment goals, and who are now willing to not only invite your otherwise late application, but, moreover, perhaps entice your enrollment by upping the ante in that critical financial aid award. 

Yes, sometimes holding out actually does pay!

The college admissions clock may not have run after all. And for those who have yet to apply, while you may no longer have the option of 3,000+ schools to apply to, if you really want in -- and maybe score a nice fin aid package, to boot -- it's not too late! 

Okay. A break for this year's crop of "I'll do it tomorrow" college wannabes. But what about those now waiting in the wings? The high school juniors/rising seniors. What do these "send us your latecomers," "deadlines be damned" colleges foretell for next year's crop of college applicants? 

Well, for one thing: Applying to colleges that are likely to have lower than hoped for enrollment (using this season's list as a guide, past recruitment and retention being no guarantee of future students actually showing up), may well increase your chances of getting in. [Conversely, applying to the very same colleges that everyone and his cousin is looking to get in to, decreases the odds of acceptance.]

For another: Schools that want you -- okay, need you -- may be more willing to part with those scholarship bucks as an incentive to secure your attendance. Let's face it. Free money trumps student loans every day of the week!

Think of it this way (and a simple Google search will bear this out) -- Enrollment Management is the new College Admissions. After all, to a college, "yield" does not mean "slow down!" It's not simply a matter of "how many will apply?" (though those application fees are nice -- ka-ching), but, "how many will actually enroll?"

College admissions, like financial aid, is a numbers game. Always try to work those numbers in your favor!

Plan. Prepare. Prevail! 

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