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6 Steps to Moving Past a College Rejection


College admissions can be totally random. You can have all of the right scores, amazing extracurriculars, great grades, and glowing essays, but sometimes things don’t work out in your favor. Use these six steps in helping to accept a difficult part of finding the right college for you—hearing the word no.

1. Take a deep breath

You might feel a lot of built up nervousness and tension after working up the courage to open that email or letter that came in the mail. Even though the end result isn’t what you had anticipated, that’s okay—take a moment to process the news, taking deep breaths and focusing on staying calm. Try your best not to be too hard on yourself.

2.  Surround yourself with family and friends

After some tough news, friends and family are often the best people to turn to for comfort and support. It might be hard to break the news—it’s always scary to admit when things don’t work out the way you want—but almost surely your loved ones will be able to give you the confidence boost you need.

3. Adjust your frame of mind

Even if you’ve just gotten the dreaded news from the dream school you imagined going to all of your life, hearing a no isn’t the end of the world. Think about some of the reasons this particular opportunity didn’t work out—for example, maybe you actually weren’t a good fit with the culture of that particular campus and wouldn’t have enjoyed yourself that much anyway. Look for the silver lining in your circumstance, and know that being happy at another university is more than possible, and will likely happen. Adjusting the way you view the situation will help you to move past the initial shock.

4.  Take a few days off

If you are in the middle of college application season and still have more applications left to send, it can be good to take a day off from college-related things. This can include scholarship, program, or admissions applications. Using a couple of days to clear your mind and re-prioritize what it is you want out of your college experience with one of your options removed is important and can help you relieve a little bit of stress.

5. Look over your application materials once more

When you’ve taken some time off, you might want to take a second look at your application materials. This can mean updating your resume, double checking your essays, and making sure you have all information correct. You can also visit your school’s counselor or college coach to make sure there aren’t any weak parts in your application that you can spruce up before your next round of applications.

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6. Pick yourself up and try again

By this point, you’ve probably reconciled yourself to the idea that your priorities and vision for college has changed, even if just a little. Hopefully, you’ve even gotten excited about one of your other options. After you’ve readied all of your materials for your next applications, send them out with pride, making sure that you are confident in each component. Even though you may face hearing no again, receiving a yes will be so rewarding.

Receiving admissions decisions can be one of the most stressful and difficult parts of the college application process. Even if you get a rejection here and there, don’t fret. Following these tips can help get you through the news, and hopefully inspire you to get back out there and give it another shot.

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Under Student Life