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How to Bounce Back from a College Rejection

You spent months completing your college applications, and then more months waiting for a reply to the big question: did you get in? And even though you are amazing and well-deserving, sometimes the answer is going to be no.

Whether you’re dealing with your first heartbreak or have just been denied your dream school, facing rejection is never easy. College rejections can feel like a slap in the face.

Although it’s hard to rally in the wake of a denial, you can use your college rejection as an opportunity for personal growth and learning. It’s OK to take a little bit of time to wallow. After all, rejection is a tough pill to swallow! Just remember that you are not alone—most people don’t get into every college they apply to—and still end up loving the schools they end up going to.


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Here are smart tips for staying positive and bouncing back from a college rejection:

Consider what’s the best fit for you

Any college that doesn’t admit you probably wasn’t the right place for you to go. There are hundreds of well-regarded colleges out there. Chances are high that you’ll have a great experience at a school that does want and appreciate you! Think about the characteristics that made your top school your No. 1, and consider whether there are other schools that might have similar qualities.

Keep off your social media

One thing that can amplify feelings of rejection? Checking your Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media accounts. Oftentimes, college decisions come out on the same day, so you might find your feed flooded with posts from peers who’ve been admitted to their top choices. Seeing friends celebrate their admittance when you’ve been denied can feel lousy. So, take a social media detox for a day or two.

Explore other options

When it comes to college, there’s no end-all, be-all. Do research into other schools and get excited about someplace else—especially if it’s somewhere you’ve already been admitted. Attend an admitted students’ day at a school where you’re in to get a feel for the place. Buy a sweatshirt for that school. Research different clubs and activities there. Get used to the idea of going somewhere else that would be lucky to have you, and get excited about it!

Remember that it isn’t personal

While completing your college application is a timely process, remember that the admissions office has very little information on you. Your GPA, test scores, essay, recommendations, and resume don’t convey everything about who you are as a person. Realize that the rejection doesn’t reflect at all on your worth as a person and how awesome you’ll be at another school.

Allow time to be sad

If you feel like crying, listening to your favorite sad song on repeat, or just sulking, it’s 100 percent ok. It’s perfectly normal to feel upset or even heartbroken in the wake of a college rejection. Take some time to mourn, but also think of all the success you’ve achieved in high school. Feel proud of everything you were proud about before letter came—there are still loads of exciting opportunities that await you in college regardless of where you go, and that’s something to celebrate.


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