Rejection, though hard to take, is a fact of life. We all experience it throughout our lives, and though the sting never really goes away, we can develop strategies to learn how to cope with it. With the right attitude, it is even possible to turn the disappointment and hurt of rejection into something positive.
Many people get their first big taste of rejection in the spring of their senior year at high school as universities pick and choose from thousands upon thousands of applications. It’s a numbers game that some will win and some will lose. If this spring, you are the unfortunate recipient of the thin envelope, shed a tear or two, then – easier said than done – put it behind you and move forward to create the future you’re after.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind if you have received one, or even several, college rejection letters is that it is NOT PERSONAL. These letters are not declaring that you are unworthy, unlovable, or even unintelligent. They simply mean that someone equally wonderful was selected before you. Universities receive so many applications each year, each one more impressive than the next, it is not physically possible for a college to accept every straight ‘A’ student who applies. They scrutinize each application to select the students they consider to be a perfect fit for their campus. When a college reaches its quota, they, unfortunately, have to turn away some applicants, regardless of how brilliant they are. You are not alone. All over the country, other highly accomplished students are receiving the same letter and experiencing the same disappointment. Nothing personal.
Another important fact to remember is that you are young and your whole life lies ahead to find success. The first few days are the hardest, but as each week passes, you will notice the sting diminishing. Some of the world’s most successful people were rejected from their desired college, but recovered enough from their disappointment to go on to do amazing things with their lives. You may not be able to see a bright future ahead for the first few days, but, as time marches on, you will start to recognize the opportunities waiting at your door.
Rejection hurts and it is good to allow yourself the time to indulge in some well-earned self-pity, but do not wallow. It is human nature to dwell on the negatives, but this is a good time to buck the trend and focus on the up side. If you have received acceptance letters – even if they are from your ‘safety’ schools – pin them proudly on a wall for all to see. Ditto, letters of recommendation, good report cards, great test scores and all extracurricular awards. Let your achievements override your disappointment.
There are many ways to turn a college rejection into something positive. All schools have pros and cons, so look for the pros in the school that accepted you. Make this college your number one choice. Out of more than 4,000 colleges in the US, you applied to this one, so it must have some redeeming qualities. Start researching the school and making a list of everything that appeals to you. You may find that this school has more to offer you than you thought.
This is certainly an emotional time of year for high school seniors waiting to hear if they have been accepted to college. Chances are good, if you have applied to several schools, you will receive at least one acceptance letter, probably more, and this is something to celebrate. If your top-choice school has rejected your application, you can rest assured, life will go on. Once you have shed your tears of disappointment and convinced yourself that the rejection was not personal, it is time to move on. For reasons you may never know, Plan A is not going to happen, so it is time to embark on Plan B which, though not your first choice, can be as rewarding as you make it. Your success lies within you, not where you study but what you make of your college experience. Accept the school that has accepted you and prepare yourself for the most wonderful time of your life yet!