After putting in the maximum of your brain, sweat, and time (those long tiresome hours) into a given task, getting rejected is not a situation that anyone would like to be in.
The feeling of rejection can often get quite overwhelming. You might feel utterly stupid, even worthless. But this isn't the right thing. Even though all those months seem to be wasted and the goal remains unachieved, you should keep looking at the brighter side. Pushing yourself down in such a situation will only worsen things.
Having a positive outlook and understanding what you learned from this "rejection experience" is what will get you through. It's rightfully said, "Grow through what you go through." Frankly, this is what you need to bear in mind if you're rejected from a college that you applied to. Because staying down after being beaten down is something that anyone can do. But springing right back on your feet is what matters the most.
Now, we're not saying that you have to suppress your natural feelings. What we mean is that you need to move on after you've dealt with them because it's not the end of the line!
Handling the emotional fight inside
Having to wait for conclusions can be quite nerve-racking. But you need to realize that even though your decisions might not pan out the way you want, you'll still be left with quite a few options. Like we said, not the end of the line!
We strongly believe in giving it everything to seize the opportunity because you don't want to feel low about not having hustled enough. We rather suggest giving it your best shot and then letting the universe take care of it. Trust us when we say this – your mental and emotional wellbeing is far more important than your college.
Now, even though you worked really hard through the essay writing and interviews, you also need to be a realist. Frankly speaking, there are a ton more students than there are colleges, and many of you might not even end up getting selected for the college of your choice. So although you need to hope for the best, you also need to be ready to embrace the worst.
Taking pressure is fine, but at times students end up beating themselves up for not having been prepared enough for something that's now out of their control. What we want them to know is that you need to start living your lives in the moment.
Everyone has to face ups-and-downs at some point in life, and for students, it's often this crucial time of getting their desired college. So although you need to be prepared for the not-so-great moments coming your way, you need to refocus and think about the present rather than worrying about your future and spoiling the moments that you're getting now.
Every student out there has to know this – you probably will rock wherever you go and excel in whatever you do. Although it's going to play a significant part, your choice of school isn't going to be a decisive factor for the person you're going to be in this world. The fire in you doesn't look for a school's name-brand to reach its maximum potential, does it?
Special shout out to the students who didn't get accepted
Getting rejected is quite a big deal. We get it. For anyone who's hurting right now because of failing to get accepted, we wish more power to you, and we want you to know that this is a very normal thing to happen. Getting rejected doesn't mean that you're stupid or lazy; it means that despite giving your best shot, some loose ends got left out, and you should take them as a second chance to learn.
Think of all the colleges out there as people who are trying to fill their ice-cream cones with all their favorite flavors lined up. Filling the cone right to the very top is something they can't do, and thus, they need to make certain choices, right? Now, if they pick one flavor over the other, that doesn't mean the flavor that got left out is any less as compared to the others. It was probably just because there was no room left. Don't worry. You'll get picked up next time!
Heartache and disappointment are the best teachers, and even though you might not realize it right now, in some time, you'll surely look back and see how strong you've grown. Disappointment is just a feeling; it doesn't dictate who you are. You're still the same incredible person, and after this experience, you're going to come out stronger than ever. You still have your skills in your hands for the rest of your life, and you shouldn't let these feelings define your future.
While staring at your rejection letter, try out these things:
- Try out long walks, dance in your room, and practice yoga or do any sort of physical exercise that you can. Changing your vibe can help you deal with your rejection.
- Start singing. Open up Spotify and blast your favorite playlist. Studies have shown that singing helps make positive brain changes.
- You need to accept that there are a lot of institutions out there that provide a great education. It's not you, but your application that got rejected. It was a mere compilation of words that a person read for 15 minutes. That doesn't mean that's all you are.
- You are a strong person, and if the decisions don't move your way, swat them away and move on. It's their loss, not yours!
- You need to find your inner peace. You need to cross the thorns and the flowing river because there's no other option. You need to go through it to grow through it.
- Holistic admissions are an art. Listing of one or two things isn't going to turn the tide of your application. At the end of the day, colleges are looking for perfect applications, and if you focus on merely trying to fit in, you're bound to receive more rejections.
Refrain from doing these things
- DON'T try to figure out the reasons why you got rejected. This is only going to lead you down the road of over-thinking and self-criticizing, and that's not the right place to be in. Sometimes, things are unexpected, as computer errors can lead to someone else getting picked (Yes, it's true!).
- DON'T say no to help if you can use it. If being rejected has made you feel bad, get up, ask for some help, and power through it. You can't succumb to the pain if you have the option to get through it.
Reasons why an application can get rescinded
Slacking off in your last semester isn't an option. When you've worked so hard to give your best till the very end, stopping just before the finish line doesn't make sense. But don't over-panic if the tide isn't in your favor during your last few months. If your other grades remain steady, getting a lower grade in your last semester isn't going to hurt that much. That probably won't be the reason you get rescinded.
Jeff Schiffman was quoted as saying on the Tulane Admissions blog that being a good person is also something you should be aware of, particularly on social media. He said that the most frequent reason he rescinded admission is due to the dumb stuff one does on social media. He said that even though colleges aren't looking for it, sometimes they're able to secure a screenshot of something offensive done by the student or something that they have no patience for, which is why they might rescind you.
If your application is rescinded, be it for whatever reason, try to reflect on what happened and learn from the experience. That's the only way to deal with it.
Should you try appeal letters?
An appeal letter might prompt a college to reconsider their decision of rejecting you, but many-a-times they won't even budge in favor of reversing the rejection. And then there are many schools who don't even accept appeal letters, so there's no point in even trying!
Writing an appeal letter only makes sense if you have a very strong reason to oppose your rejection. If you're writing the letter out of being disappointed in yourself, take it from us, it ain't gonna work!
Now, regarding what you can write in such a letter.
In the letter, you can add any relevant and relatively new information about your activities, academics or even awards. Feel free to elaborate on them. For example, you can mention how well you performed in your last semester even though you had so much going on at the time. If there's a certain method given for the appeal letter, follow the exact format. If not, you're in for writing the best love letter of your life.
On the other hand, when asking the college to reconsider your application, you can write a formal letter in which you can very clearly and politely lay down your argument. But remember, you CANNOT afford to come across as an angry or emotional person who blames the institution. You also have to keep a check on the English and avoid any sorts of grammatical or vocabulary errors. You can have your letter proofread by your English teacher before sending it.
Summing it up – What if you're rejected by all the schools you applied to?
So what if you get rejected from every college of your choice? Is it the end of the line for you?
Well, no! You still have several options left.
- You can get enrolled in a community college for one or two years and get yourself some basic credits.
- You can even take a year off, explore new opportunities, or travel to a certain place. Keeping yourself involved in any way and changing your environment can help you refocus and put your perspective in place.
- You can check out the NACAC college updates or the schools which are accepting rolling admissions. These are basically some institutions that accept applications as late as May!
Remember – what matters is not giving up. If you feel like a failure, you'll probably always end up failing. Stay strong, keep your chin up, and keep moving ahead.