A lot of weight is put on a high school senior’s shoulders to get into the best college they can. Not only that, but the pressure is on to get into that dream school he or she has been after. Most students have a particular school in mind that they’ve decided would be absolutely perfect for them. It may be the culture, it may be a certain program, or it may be a combination of a lot of factors – but regardless of the specific reasons, it is nice to feel so confident about this next phase of your life.
The only problem is, there is no guarantee of attending that school until that large envelope of acceptance arrives in the mail. Students are rightfully encouraged to not put all of their eggs in one basket and make sure to apply to at least a handful of schools, even if they already have their decision made in their heads. More importantly, having a back-up school for which you know you can get into is crucial so you are not left with zero options come decision-making time. We certainly don’t like to think about it, but it has to be acknowledged – what if you don’t get into your dream school?
You may have scored exactly as needed on the SAT and acquired enough leadership positions in high school to meet this school’s requirements, but admissions decisions are not always that simple and you just cannot predict these things. The outcome may be one you don’t like or don’t expect, and it is important that you prepare for that possibility. Just because you felt you this school would be perfect for you doesn’t necessarily mean the admissions officers will feel you’re perfect for it. If you are applying to medical school, you may also want to check out these tips on what to do if you get rejected from medical school.
If you do find yourself in this unfortunate situation, don’t throw in the towel! A fulfilling college experience can still be in your future. There a few steps you can follow to ensure you handle things in a healthy and proactive way so you can still enjoy those years ahead of you.
#1. Accept it: It may sound a little harsh and obvious, but you really won’t be able to move on unless you do it. Getting over the fact that you won’t be spending your exciting college years at your first choice institution is a tough thing to face, especially if you’ve built up the dream in your mind over the past few years. But an important thing to realize is that not everyone attends the college they thought they were going to. Some people end up going to a different school even if they were accepted into their dream one. Why? Because people grow and change their minds, and that includes high school students. Just because you thought something was right for you once doesn’t mean it still is or always will be. Don’t be afraid of something different. Comprehend the fact that another school can offer you the things you want. It may not be the place you pictured in your head for so long, but it could make you very happy if you let it. A closed mind is one of the quickest ways to avoid a happy college experience. Don’t stand in your own way. Here are some great tips on how to handle rejection in college admissions that you may want to take a look at as well.
#2. Congratulate yourself for the schools that did accept you: Unless you really did put all of your eggs in one basket, you should have a few other schools that are inviting you to be a part of their campuses. Take a moment to let that soak in and be proud of yourself for the accomplishment. It is always a great feeling to know you gained acceptance, so don’t let it slide by just because you weren’t accepted by your number one pick. You can take comfort in the fact that you have still been given the opportunity to attend other universities, and now you are the one in control. Be happy you have other options and take the reins as the decision-maker of which path you will go on now.
#3. “Start over” and research: Theoretically, you have already researched these schools because you decided to apply to them in the first place. But since you were planning on attending the one that didn’t accept you, you probably didn’t give the details on these remaining schools as much thought as necessary. Now is the time to have a little fun and take a deeper look into each of these universities’ elements, knowing that the hard part is over and all you have to do is pick what you like best. However, it is important that you do not directly compare them to your dream school. As has already been established, accepting the rejection from that dream school is critical so you do not have it in the front of your mind as you evaluate these other colleges. If you do have it in the front of your mind, none of these schools are going to look appealing to you and the fun and excitement will be gone. Look at each of these institutions with a clear head and you’re bound to naturally find and learn about things they offer that genuinely intrigue you. Before you know it, you’ll be leaning toward one of them with the confidence that you do have an exciting experience ahead of you. Here is some great information you may also want to take a look at on why top colleges have lowered acceptance rates.
In a nutshell – acceptance, moving on, recognizing what you do have, and making an informed decision is what lies ahead of you. It’s a bummer not getting into your top choice school, but don’t let that stop you from having the experience you deserve!