You hope you’re going, you hope you’ll be accepted, the letter arrives…and your hopes are gone. Rejection. “We reviewed so many strong applicants this year, but we’re sorry.”
Tears, dashed dreams, sunken self-esteem. In the aftermath, is there any intelligence to be had from being denied admission to a school? We think so. Here are at least three...
1. Despite your best intentions, the school may not be right for you.
Colleges really do go beyond transcripts and test scores in considering the student – the whole student. What have you been involved in outside of school? Did your personality come through in your essay? Have you challenged yourself sufficiently in school? Rejection, believe it or not, can save you time, money and effort in the long-run — in case you find that your “dream” school turns out to be an experience well below what you wanted and expected. U.S. News has written that as many as 1 in 3 first-year students won't make it back for sophomore year.
2. Take A Step Back – to Your Back-up Schools
Everything will work out in the end! Look around you. Many graduates earned their degrees at colleges that were not their first choice. They survived and flourished. With thousands of colleges across the country, you will surely find one that fits what you’re looking for.
3. The Crucible of Life
Yeah, sounds kinda intellectual, but our fun-with-words aside, learning to deal with rejection serves people well in our complicated world. You must remember that a rejection is, as the cliché goes, nothing personal. Colleges have their extensive list of considerations, and clearly not everyone fits within their particular frame of reference. Water always finds a way to flow downhill in seeking “its own level.” You’ll do that, too; you’ll find the level that’s right for you. Another metaphor, please: the fork in the road – acceptance/rejection – is not really a fork at all, but simply one intersection in a much more complicated landscape. Learn to navigate. You’ll find the path you want to the college that instructs and inspires you.