Dealing with Rejection from Your Dream School

Flickr user Steven Caspar

When it comes to applying to your dream school(s), it’s important to remember that sometimes dreams don’t always reflect reality. Every year, thousands of seniors must come to terms with not being admitted to the school they wanted more than any other. This happens for a variety of reasons, from demographics and numbers, to the schools’ selectivity. Whatever the case, dealing with rejection from your dream school takes time. However, there are ways to get over it quickly and find happiness with the choices you make. Here’s how.

Focus on the Good

Okay, so you didn’t get into Yale or Harvard. But what about your second, third, or fourth choices? You had a reason for polishing up those entrance essays and forking of the application fees. So if you’re struggling to see the positives, take a moment with pen and paper to write out all the pros of the schools you were accepted to. Recall things like that really cool cafeteria, the enormous dorms, or the incredible green quad that was way more lively than your dream school.

While you’re thinking of the schools that accepted you, remember also that you are wanted. That school went out of its way to make you an offer! And, for the easier schools, they may also be offering you some pretty attractive financial assistance. Be flattered! Take it as a compliment! Even if you got into your dream school, little incentives like this may not have been offered.

Finally, work on getting into the spirit! Go on a second or third tour of the schools that said yes. Do an overnight with a current student. Hit up a fan shop for t-shirts, posters, pendants, and hats for the school you ultimately decide is the right choice for you. All these activities will help you wash away the feeling of rejection and get you excited for another school!

Read Up on the Art of Failing

It’s sometimes hard to see the forest through the trees. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Rejection is a major part of growing up. And while your friends may be celebrating, you should too because you are about to face the ultimate test: how you deal with disappointment.

Did you know that the Harry Potter series was rejected a dozen times before it was published, or that Michael Jordan was rejected from his high school basketball team? Ouch! But we all know how these stories turned out. That’s because rejection can drive you to success if you let it push you.

Take a moment to reflect on how you can turn this around. For example, your new school choice may have an opportunity for you to take on an international study program. That could be the perfect chance to learn a new language or to get experience abroad. It could be your ultimate path to success! But don’t fret if that isn’t obvious just yet. Just know that if you take the anger or fears you have now and put it towards good, you can make your goals a reality.

Give Yourself Time to Grieve

Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel. Sometimes parents, although well-meaning, may want you to stop moping around or being disappointed. That’s not fair either. Rejection, especially for colleges, hurts, and you will may need time or help to process it.

Find a friend who is going through the same thing. Talk to a teacher who may have insight or a really good ear. Don’t be afraid to cry, meditate, get a manicure, or eat an entire gallon of ice cream. We won’t tell. Just do what you need to do to feel better.

Your college aspirations don’t stop here because you didn’t get into the one school you liked most. This is just the beginning, and we know you’ll do great no matter where you end up.

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