Make Your Decision

Dealing with the Rejection Letter

Getting rejected from some of your target colleges is sometimes just a fact of the college admissions circus. It never feels great to be denied, but remember to balance out the bad with the good. Rejoicing at acceptances and minimizing the importance of denials is a healthy approach to the end of a period of great tension and confusion. It's natural to boast about your success, especially admittance to well-known colleges. But don't treat denials as a personal failure. Letters from admissions offices usually cite the statistics of how many students applied and how many were admitted. These reflect that you are not alone in your disappointment. Maintain a glass is half-full attitude.

A college rejection is not a stigma. Life's fate will not be determined by having earned more "yesses" than "nos." The student whose mother fumed two years ago over her daughter's denial at five Ivy League colleges is now bursting with pride at her daughter's editorial position on her college newspaper—a sure ticket for opportunities beyond the walls of her college. Don't focus on the negative news. Focus on the options that are available, citing the positive aspects of the colleges that said "we want you."

What If You Get No Offers?
Every so often a student is faced with no offers of admission. This unhappy outcome may or may not have a rational explanation. It could be a result of the student shooting too high, or having a poor first semester of senior year. What might have seemed like a "safety school" a year ago could have become more competitive if the college received an unprecedented surge of applications during the current cycle. Whatever the cause, this predicament is a nightmare for students, parents, and school counselors. But don't despair: There is a resolution to such a dilemma.

Only a few hundred colleges strictly adhere to hard-and-fast application and commitment deadlines. What this might mean is a temporary period of uncertainty. Shed a few tears if you want to, but remember, all is not lost. At the very least, you can always attend a community college for a year, get great grades, and either re-apply to colleges that said "no" or apply to other schools.

Never lose sight that it's the diploma from the college that you graduate from that will most influence graduate school admissions and employment opportunities.

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