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5 Tips for Accepting College Rejections


It can be really difficult to cope with disappointment when you have your heart set on something. For a lot of young people, the first really big letdown of life comes with being denied by their college of choice. Also, it’s common for students to have a difficult time coping with the admissions process when they receive rejection letters from a number of schools. This can make it feel as though plans A-G are out, and a new vision must take shape instead, which is a trying process. All of the disappointment can be really tough to take, but there is a bright side and it’s all going to be okay. Here are some tips to help you through.


(Photo Credit: crazyaschris/Flickr)

1. Know that it’s normal, especially these days.

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A lot of people don’t get accepted by their first choice school, or even their second or third choices. It’s been happening forever. But, right now, it’s particularly difficult. In fact, the number of students attending their dream school is at an all-time low. If you haven’t noticed, academia is trying to adjust to the huge influx of students attending college and some things are being worked out. Professors aren’t being compensated like they used to, business offices are struggling to find a way to keep costs down, and more.

Give yourself a break. You’re entering college during a difficult time, and a lot of students are going through the same stuff you’re going through.

2. Take a good long look around.

It is really helpful to know that you’re not going through this alone. Transitions are challenging, no matter what you’re transitioning toward or away from. Chances are that pretty much everyone you know who is at the same stage of life you’re in is struggling a bit right now, too.

Look around, talk to your friends, and notice that yes, people are excited, and yes, people are terrified. Not everyone is moving into something that they’re feeling really great about, and many are feeling a little down on themselves about that. It is super normal to be feeling a little low right now; it’s a scary time for everyone. Know you’re not alone and that transitions are always hard.

3. You learn something when you struggle.

Some of the best lessons of life come from times when you feel like you lost the game. “Losing” makes us stronger. It helps us become better people. Think about how different you’d be if you hadn’t gone through the things in life that you’ve already gone through. What would you be like if everything had always come easily to you or run smoothly? You wouldn’t be able to handle disappointment, you wouldn’t know how to be persistent, determined, you wouldn’t know how to persevere…. These are all skills you really need to develop in order to cope with the other struggles that are going to come your way in life.

You grow more when things do not go well than when they do. It’s not easy, but it is worth it in the long run.

4. It’s just like any other rejection

It doesn’t feel good to feel you’ve been rejected. If you really had your heart set on a plan and now you need to change your thinking, it’s an adjustment! Of course it’s a struggle to reorder your vision of the future, but you’ll get there.

Be easy on yourself at first. You don’t need to come up with a new plan right away. Treat yourself the way you would after a tough breakup. Take long walks, soothing baths, curl up with a good book and your favorite cookie, and spend time with friends and family. Take care of yourself and heal from the sadness a little. You will feel differently in the future, but it takes time. Be good to yourself right now.

5. It wasn’t meant to be.

Our fates and futures are our design, but sometimes things throw us off our intended course. This is where the beauty of life happens. After all, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. We can control a lot about our futures, but we can’t control everything.

Mixing the bitter with the sweet and finding a way to swallow it all with confidence and humor is pretty much – well, it’s life! And, it is hard sometimes. But, here’s the thing, when it’s all said and done you won’t wish you could go back and do it differently. You’re going to see, down the road, why this wasn’t meant to be, and that something else was. And, you’ll feel as though you wouldn’t change a thing.

Trying to find the best school for you? PayScale’s College ROI Report tells you which college or university will give you the most for your tuition dollar.

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How have rejections changed your life for the better or made you a better person? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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