When you’ve been rejected by your top choice college

Rejection never feels good. Even when you knew it was most likely a reach. Like, you knew the odds. You assessed your options, and yet, still, maybe, just maybe the decision would lean in your favor.

It didn’t. That’s rough, and it kind of sucks. Really sucks.

Couple that feeling with the impending unknown landscape of your future. What’s next after graduation? Your friend asks you where you got in, but you can’t seem to answer at the moment. You’re exhausted. Not to mention annoyed that the other kid is celebrating in the class next door. You knew they’d get in.

College acceptances can be the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It doesn’t help that your class of peers are most likely applying to a handful of similar colleges, and thus, comparison creeps in no matter how hard you convince yourself otherwise.

You ready for the pep talk now? I’m giving it you regardless.

Rejection can be a normal part of life, and yes, you’ll get through this, you really will. But that doesn’t minimize the feeling of being punched in the gut. If a college decision hasn’t been in your favor or you’re just feeling meh about it all, read the following and soak in these words:

  1. Be kind to yourself and speak to yourself like you would a friend. If your best friend came to you and was upset about their decision or something big happening in their life, how would you respond? We’re almost always more likely to be kind to our friends than ourselves. It’s just how it works. We’re able to put on a brave face for our friends, but in our own mind, it seems impossible. Be kind to yourself.
  2. Take a minute to acknowledge this sucks. The last thing you want to hear right now is, “everything happens for a reason” or “it was a really competitive admissions year”. Nope, you don’t want any of that. Allow yourself to be annoyed, be pissed off, feel upset.
  3. Take less action. Actually, just don’t do anything at all. When we’re in the moment, really in the heat of the moment, nothing is productive or positive will come to fruition. Don’t take to social media seeking answers, Googling how to appeal, or the ranking of your likely school. Just take a beat. Take a minute to process and just chill. One hour, even one day, won’t hurt.
  4. Let it go. You may not be able to do this right away, but at some point, you’ll have a make peace with it moment, and realize you have the power to view this scenario any which way you want. That means, if you allow the power of the denial to alter your entire life, well then that’s what will happen. But if you only give as much power to it as you’re willing to, you have the POWER to redirect this energy into something new and super exciting. Something that allows you to thrive, allows you to be the incredible student that you are.
  5. Approach your college list with a fresh perspective when you’re ready. Where did you get in? Why did those schools land on your list initially? You liked them at one point, so even if your dream school didn’t cash in, there might be something amazing about being a big fish in a small pond at your likely college or target school. Give it a fair shot.
  6. Call the shots. Listen, at the end of the day, you’re the one being dropped off in a dorm, attending classes, taking strolls through campus, joining clubs, and checking out the local bites. So don’t let one opinion shatter that dream, or make that dream on your behalf. This is your future. You make the decision, and lean on those you trust to provide a helpful approach rather than unsolicited feedback.
  7. Remember that wherever you go, you have the power of perspective and are in charge of your actions. The power of this denial is only as big as you let it be. Where do you want to direct your energy? To feeling lousy and putting your future in the hands of ONE DECISION? Or, are you going to redirect elsewhere. To another incredible college. Lead the charge in your life. No one else can do it better.

College is one of many life transitions. It may not feel empowering now, but trust me, it will be one of the most empowering decisions and experiences of your life.

So what, that school didn’t admit you? Fine. Are you going to let one door closed forever lock you in your room? Absolutely not. Nope, not you. You’re going to stand tall and create your next move strategically and position yourself in a space where you can thrive, try new things, face challenges, and breeze through them. Yep, this is your future, and you’re going to do just fine.

I can’t wait to see what you do.

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