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Rejected from Your Dream College? It’s Not the End of the World

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Application due dates have passed at some colleges and universities; deadlines are quickly approaching at others. Millions of students across the country have already applied to thousands of colleges.

The College Board generally advises that students to apply to more than one college: a reach school with competitive admission requirements; a probable school that isn’t necessarily your dream school, yet you’d be happy to attend if you had to; and a safety school that you’re just about 99% certain you will be accepted to attend.

Be Realistic

It will be awhile before you start to receive decisions from schools, but it’s in your best interest to start mentally preparing yourself now. What will happen if you don’t get into the schools you’re dying to attend? It’s a harsh reality, but you most likely won’t be accepted by every school you apply to. According to Tanya Caldwell of The New York Times, Yale officials reportedly admitted just over 7% of students who applied while Harvard claims to have accepted just under 6% of its applicants this year.

You may not be aiming for the Ivy League, but your beloved state university or other dream school might be too popular to admit everyone who applies. Here are some things to remind yourself about college rejection in general:

1. Rejection sucks. Plain and simple.

One team of researchers found that feelings of rejection are actually similar to feelings of physical pain. That said, rejection hurts whether it’s romantic, social, professional, or educational. Feeling mad at the world, sorry for yourself, and jealous of people who were accepted? That’s totally normal.

2. Realize that people will try to console you.

Your parents, your friends, and maybe even your teachers or guidance counselor will most likely try to reassure you that a college rejection isn’t the end of the world. And in reality, it’s not, but it probably seems like it to you! Try your best to appreciate people’s kindness and thank them for caring—even though you probably feel like biting their heads off.

3. Get revenge—in a good way.

Once you get over your initial shock of receiving the “Thanks, but no thanks” news, you might want to seek revenge. Take things out in a good way. Hit the gym to work out—and work off some of that anger—and then scour your acceptance letters to find a college that would love to have you as a student! You might even find out that you’ve been awarded scholarships because they want you so badly.

4. Look forward.

Now that you’re no longer wondering “What if I don’t get into [insert dream school here]?” you can slowly start to move on with your life. You can start to make plans that surround the school you will be attending!

5. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Still feeling bummed, even though you’re going to college elsewhere? Try applying again in a year or two. Many schools accept transfer students! If you earn stellar grades during your freshman year or stick around at another school for two years and earn an associate’s degree, you might be able to apply to your dream school again with better results. You could also try applying as a graduate student after you complete your bachelor’s degree.

Your senior year will be a crazy time for many reasons besides your college applications and possible rejection letters. You’re going to be upset, but don’t let a bit of bad news destroy what could be the final months you have left with your high school friends.

Read more:

College Waiting Lists: Does Maybe Just Mean No?

College Rejection Letters Can Open New Doors Rejection Letters Can Open New Doors

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Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.


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