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Moving Forward After a College Rejection Letter

Getting rejected from college can be a challenging experience, especially if it is from your first-choice school. While it may feel like the end of the world, we promise you are not alone... and it is not. Here is some advice from Admit U counselors on how to move forward after being denied. 

Acknowledge Your Feelings

It is expected to be upset after getting rejected from college. Don’t bottle up your emotions! Instead, allow yourself to process your feelings. During this time, seeking counseling or talking with a friend or loved one about what you’re going through may be worthwhile. We are not saying that you shouldn’t feel your feelings, but take a little time to process and move forward—this isn’t your defining moment. As NY Times columnist, Frank Bruni, says, “Where you go, is not who you’ll be.”

Understand Supply and Demand

Most of you will officially encounter the concept of supply and demand in your ECON 101 class, but some of you are getting a crash course through the admissions process. Tens of thousands of applicants often vie for a few thousand slots at one university. Competition is fierce, incoming class sizes are set, and chances of getting in get harder every year. Let's look at these admissions statistics for more perspective. 

For the Class of 2027:

  • Harvard received 56,937 applications for approximately 1,600 spots; 1,965 students were accepted. 

  • UCLA received 145,904 applications for 6,449 spots; 12,779 students were accepted.

  • NYU received 120,000 applications for 3,378 spots; 9,600 students were accepted.

  • Tufts received 34,002 applications for 1,707 spots; 3,444 students were accepted. 

It’s essential to remember that college rejection isn’t personal. There are thousands of more-than-qualified candidates who get denied; most colleges even say that they could admit an entire other class from the students they deny! Acceptance is a numbers game, and being admitted everywhere you apply is unrealistic (especially if all of the admit rates are below 20%).

Your College Doesn’t Define Your Worth

Regardless of name or prestige, the college you attend does not define your worth. More importantly, you may realize that there may be better options than your first college choice. Many students who end up at their second, third, fourth, etc., choices later realize it’s a better fit than their original first choice. Your other choices might be blessings in disguise, whether it’s due to rejection, finances, or location. Check out this article to learn how one woman who attended her last choice school eventually realized it was the perfect fit. 

Consider a Gap Year or Transfer Option 

If you’re still unhappy with your college choices, all hope is not lost. You can buy yourself time to reassess your list and college goals by spending a gap year (or semester) exploring your academic or extracurricular interests, improving your grades, or learning something new about yourself that could present, new compelling information to your colleges.  

You can also approach your first year with an open mind, attending one of the colleges where you did earn an acceptance. If you’re not happy after your first year or two, you can transfer to another college or even reapply to your top choice. Pro Tip! It can be easier to get into a more competitive college as a transfer because you’ve already proven yourself as a college student and… remember supply and demand? There are fewer transfer students than high school seniors.  

The Bottom Line…

The college application process is personal, and receiving a rejection letter can be challenging. However, with a change in perspective, reflection, and redirection, we promise your future is still bright. Need more guidance on the college decision process? Gain assistance and insight in your college journey with Admit U. 

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