Dealing With College Rejection


In my work with high school students and GED students at the community college, I have learned a great deal about college admissions–the requirements, the deadlines, the fear. The arbitrariness.

What do they want anyway? High grades, extra-curricular activities, volunteer work. Oh, and let’s not forget about the SATs. I remember feeling a little surprised when I first learned that many high schools now offer SAT prep classes. Is it any wonder that our teens are stressed? The college application alone is enough to send someone into a tizzy.

Last year, an ivy league school accepted less than 6% of its applicants. Less than 6%. In recent years, colleges and universities have reserved many slots for athletes, international students, and first-generation students; as a result, that means fewer spaces for the average high school graduate.

So, what to do when that thin envelope comes in the mail? Some tips (from this article) include:

1. Thank those who have contributed recommendation letters, and guidance counselors who have submitted transcripts.

2. Plan B. Find an alternative. There are plenty of schools to choose from.

3. Once you have decided on an alternative school, attend orientation, and learn as much as you can about the school. This will help you get (& feel) connected.

I would also advise this: Keep that rejection letter in a file somewhere. One day you will look back and be grateful for that rejection, for it led you to where you currently are. Remember, it’s okay to be disappointed. But don’t let a rejection letter define you.

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