College Admissions: Dealing With Rejection

Applying to college is something that is highly exciting. When you go you will not only be advancing your career and your finances, you will also be living a whole new life in a new part of the country (possibly even a new country), with new friends, and with the opportunity to completely reinvent yourself.

While this is all very exciting though, until you actually get there there is a lot you need to do first – not least getting accepted into the college of your dreams. Unfortunately this is something that can be easier said than done, and especially if you are opting for one of the more popular institutions. So when those rejection letters start coming, how do you cope and how do you stay positive? Here we will look at some coping strategies to help reduce the sting.

Be Realistic

First of all you need to be realistic and logical about this. Remember that there are a lot of people applying to a small number of places – so there is always the chance that you are going to get a lot of rejections based on sheer probability. This is simple maths and it certainly is not personal or a reflection on you. In fact it couldn’t possibly be when you bear in mind the fact that they have very little information to go on. All they know about you is what you told them and perhaps some impressions they may have garnered during a very short interview. It’s not personal then and based purely of stats and probability. Don’t expect to get 100% acceptances and don’t take it too hard when you get turned down.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

There’s no point in getting upset if you’re rejected from a college that you have no interest in. That really doesn’t affect you, and you are better off focussing on the places that you do wish to attend. Focus on those.

Have a Contingency Plan

If you are starting to get worried, then think about how you will react if you don’t end up getting in this year. In fact this is something you should plan for at any rate – it’s always good to have a backup.

In reality if you don’t get in this year then it’s hardly the end of the world – you can always apply again next year and in the meantime there’s nothing to stop you from getting more experience and becoming a more attractive prospect for the colleges in question. Meanwhile you might be able to work and earn some money, or you might opt to change tact altogether and look for an apprenticeship or a job with prospects. When you are applying to college it can feel like your whole world hinges on getting in – but that really isn’t the case most of the time.


Your friends are probably going through something similar right now and speaking to them about it and knowing you aren’t alone can thus be very comforting. Likewise you might want to speak to your parents or teachers and they will tell you that it’s normal to receive a few rejections.

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