March 9, 2020
How to Heal If You’re Rejected by Your Dream College by EdMission Possible
“Welcome to Rejection: Stay Strong”Source: EdMission Possible
Rejection… a word nobody likes to hear… Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the act or process of rejecting someone or something.” I define it as “the act of telling you that everything happens for a reason and that something bigger and better is on the horizon!”
With days remaining before some of you hear back from your Regular Decision (RD) colleges, I find it very timely to write this blog post. As a person who likes to have a Plan B, I always prepare myself for the worst, so if and when the worst hits, I always have a backup plan.
Late March and onwards… a time in your life that you will never forget – one way or another… If accepted to your dream college, you will be ecstatic and welcoming spring with a huge relief!
If rejected, though, the upcoming Spring Break or the soon-to-blossom cherry orchard trees will not mean much to you.
If your dream college has decided not to offer you a seat in their incoming class, there are many reasons behind that decision that doesn’t have anything to do with you personally – that is, considering that you have qualified academically.
You have a steady GPA with stellar extracurriculars, aced the SAT, and have spent the last four years of your life perfecting your groundbreaking scientific research. Was none this good enough for your dream college?
The answer to this question is a little more complicated than what you would like to hear. All the hard work you put into your college planning and the application process did count for sure! All of that did qualify you to be eligible for consideration, to say the least.
However, what the rejection decision means is there were more qualified applicants than there were available seats! Look at the below chart to see the acceptance rates of the top 25 colleges for 2020, as announced by the U.S. News and World Report rankings.
|School||US News Ranking||Acceptance Rate|
|University of Chicago||6 (tie)||7%|
|University of Pennsylvania||6 (tie)||8%|
|Johns Hopkins||10 (tie)||11%|
|University of Notre Dame||15 (tie)||18%|
|Washington University in St. Louis||19||15%|
|UC Berkeley||22 (tie)||15%|
|Carnegie Mellon||25 (tie)||17%|
Source: PrepScholar Blog
With such low acceptance rates as seen in the table above, being admitted to highly-selective colleges such as the Ivies and the Elites is like winning the lottery.
Those colleges are what we call “reach” schools for every single applicant, so there’s never any guarantee that a student will be admitted. If you’re one of the many who have been rejected by their dream college, it’s not the end of the world. There are things you can do to get through this.
Here are my tried-and-true techniques for dealing with rejection:
Don’t Dwell on the Reasons For Rejection
You’ll never know what led to this decision because you weren’t a member of the Admissions Committee. There’s no way you’ll ever know what happened behind the closed doors. Trying to find out the reason won’t change anything.
Even if you request an explanation for the rejection decision, no college will provide you with an answer. They do not have to… Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as appealing a rejection letter.
Talk to the One Person Who Believes in You No Matter What
Your mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, best friend, significant other, teacher, principal, guidance counselor, independent educational consultant, coach, boss, colleague, neighbor, etc… Whoever your confidant is, talk to them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a shoulder to cry on! When you actually talk about your feelings and admit how upset you are, you’ll feel much better.
Cry Your Heart Out
At the age of 45, I still can’t handle rejection well. I’ve had countless rejections in different phases of my life, and I know it sucks!
Before you’re completely ready to move on, you need to take a little time off and deal with all those strong emotions.
Cry, cry, and then cry some more… Let those tears come out for a day or two… You’ve done everything to the best of your ability, so it hurts… A LOT… Cry yourself to sleep… Cry until you can’t…
Trust me; that’ll be the only closure you will need and the only one that will help you move on.
Regroup and Refocus
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai LamaSource: EdMission Possible
Remember that you still need to maintain a good GPA because the college you commit to will eventually ask for an end-of-the-year transcript to see if there’s been a significant drop in your grades. Focus all your time and energy on your classes. “Senioritis” is a real phenomenon – avoid it!
Love Your College List
Having that one college as your dream school might really be a dream after all! Treat all of the colleges you have applied to as your dream schools.
Don’t get caught up on the rankings and the acceptance rates. There’s a college out there that will love you for who you are and that you will love for who they are. You will find it.
“Those were yesterday’s feelings.”Source: EdMission Possible
After hours of sobbing and getting back on track, you just need to move on. Exciting times are on the horizon! You’ll soon hear from the rest of your colleges.
Embrace this time and use it effectively and intentionally.
“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”Source: EdMission Possible
Don’t ever forget that everyone has had their share of rejection at least once (if not more). Did you know that Warren Buffet was rejected by Harvard? Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and even Barack Obama got rejected by their dream colleges.
I could give you a whole list of famous people who have dealt with rejections, but you can just google the names yourself. You’re not the first and will not be the last to be rejected from a college. You are not alone.
Life does go on… even after a rejection. More often than not, when one door closes, another one opens – you just need to look for that door. I assure you that it’s waiting for you to open it.
I am so proud of each and every one of you, and so should you!
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Founder and President | EdMission Possible
About the Author
At EdMission Possible, we guide our students in the right direction by making sure that they stay focused until the end of the college admissions season. If you feel like you could use a little more motivation or encouragement, call or e-mail us today to inquire about our college planning services.
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Burcak Deniz CakirSource: EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator.
She completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession, in 2019. She’s an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a Member of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC).
She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University.
Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English.
Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc.
Burcak currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.
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