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So You Got a College Rejection Letter: Now What?

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Even if you’re a straight A student with perfect SAT scores who volunteers ten hours a week, your odds of getting into an Ivy League college are pretty slim. And even though you’re well aware that colleges and universities use a wide variety of factors to determine which students they decide to accept, rejection hurts.

It’s easy to get upset if you receive a college rejection letter. Feeling bad is completely understandable—we all want to be wanted. Although it might feel like the Earth has stopped spinning, it hasn’t. You’ve got to pull yourself together and figure out where to go from here.

Three important suggestions:

Be realistic and avoid putting yourself down.

Let’s be realistic. The world is chock-full of incredibly smart, talented and successful people who didn’t attend an Ivy League college yet seem to be doing just fine. The world is also full of disappointments. Even though you might have had your heart set on being accepted to a particular college or university, deep down you knew that there was a chance you wouldn’t be chosen. Just like the song says, “You can’t always get what you want.” It doesn’t mean you aren’t smart, a good student, or a good person.

Decide where you will be going to college.

Attending a prestigious school may look good on paper, but good students can thrive just about anywhere. That means you can still earn a degree and have an amazing college experience even if you weren’t accepted to your first choice school. As long as you enroll in a respected, accredited program you can be on your way to an exciting career and have a blast along the way. If you received a college rejection letter, yes, you’ll be upset but then you’ll have to figure out where you will be going to college and start planning! Many students wind up falling in love with their “second choice” or even “third choice” colleges and realize that sometimes, things happen for a reason.

Re-apply and transfer to your dream school in two years.

If your heart is set on going to a particular school, consider re-applying as a transfer student. Many students decide to earn a two-year associate’s degree at a local community college before moving on to a four-year college or university as junior. Not only will this allow you to show you have what it takes to succeed at the college level, it can help save you money as tuition is typically lower at two-year schools.

Interested in attending a college or university that is profiled on StateUniversity.com? Although a variety of other factors are considered, entering your class rank, GPA and standardized test scores in our simple Chance of Admission calculator form can help us estimate your chances of admission.


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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