College Notification Letters: Tips On How To Cope With Rejection
College notification letters are due to arrive in a few short weeks. Most high school seniors are on edge at this point in the year, hoping that they were accepted to their first choice school. Although most students will get into college somewhere (especially if they seek the guidance of one of our Irvine college admissions consultants), they will also receive a rejection letter.
Students are advised to think about reasons why they may or may not be accepted to a particular university before they open their letters so as not become overly discouraged.
1. The statistics were against them
If the student applied to a university with a less than 10% admittance rate, the reality is the statistics just weren’t in their favor. Searching for a specific reason as to why they didn’t get into an Ivy League or near Ivy League school is not helpful and will lead to excess frustration. Students should not worry too much and know that it’s not necessarily a reflection of them as a student or person but rather the university’s picky admissions requirements.
Lesson learned: Resilience is powerful and is actually one of the best qualities a young person can have. People will receive multiple rejections before they land their dream job or get into the graduate school of their choice (READ: “8 Reasons Applicants Fail to Get Into the College of Their Choice”).
2. It just wasn’t the right fit
Some students apply to school because they felt pressured or because of the school’s reputation. However, many students will not have conducted extensive research to see if the university was really the right place for them to spend four years. If the admissions department feels that they are not a good fit for a student, the student is not likely to be admitted.
Lesson learned: Students who attend a school that is not the right fit for them may struggle for the next four years; they should look at the schools they were accepted to and think about which one would truly be the right place for them to flourish.
3. Similar applicants
Many universities would like to provide a diverse student body so that admitted students can gain a broadened life perspective. A diverse population is a great thing and offers admitted students more opportunities to become multi-talented world citizens. However, this can sometimes play against an applicant if their application was similar to many others.
Lesson learned: It’s important that a student is able to stand out on their college application and offer something that their peers cannot. College juniors can learn from their older peers by thinking about what would make them stand out next year. Examples would include a unique volunteer or community service experience, taking AP exams outside of the norm, and fully developing a hobby or interest that is unique (READ: “Navigating the Basics of the College Application Process”).
4. The student didn’t apply to a diverse range of schools
Students are always encouraged to apply to a range of schools. Regardless, many students apply to several schools that happen to be very similar. Students who apply only to Ivy League schools, only to large public universities, or only to small specialized schools may find that they have more rejection letters than expected. Lesson learned: High school seniors should look at the places they were accepted to and choose one that will be the best fit for them. High school juniors can learn from their older peers by remembering to apply to a range of schools when it’s their turn. The more the merrier when it comes to college applications.
On a rare occasion a student will find that they are not accepted to any of the colleges they applied to. This usually isn’t because of the student’s grades and test scores but rather because they only applied to “reach” schools or did not choose a “safety” school. Students who find themselves in this situation are advised to sit down with their academic counselor at school as well as with their parents and review how best to spend the next 12 months. Students who are not accepted to college at all should know that they are not doomed to a life without a bachelor’s degree. Students can always apply next year, but they should think about what didn’t work out the first time around so they can remedy these issues in the 12 months that follow (READ: “Tips from an Irvine College Consultant: International Scholarships 101”).
Although getting a rejection letter is emotionally difficult and frustrating, students should be advised that resilience is one of the best qualities they can have as a young person and try to move on as best they can. Students can then look at the list of schools they were accepted to and start focusing on a positive and productive academic future.
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