Dealing with rejection: how do you handle denied college apps?
December 15, 2015
It’s that time of year again; high school seniors have applied to colleges and are anxiously awaiting the letters which will either make them jump for joy or curl up into the fetal position and cry themselves to sleep. Unfortunately, rejection is an inevitable part of this process. Odds are you will be denied at least once if you are applying to multiple colleges. And it’s going to suck. A lot.
But you know what?
Don’t worry about it.
Rejection is a painful thing, true, but it comes with a learning curve. We will all encounter it at some point in our lives, no matter who we are or what path we choose. Whether that’s rejection of a club or an organization, rejection by someone we like or rejection of a college application, it is inescapable.
However everyone has different ways to cope: some linger on the what-ifs, while others choose to let it go immediately. (I know I prefer not to dwell on things that I can’t change and move on to things that I can, which makes me feel more like I am treading water and less like a flailing cat trying to stay afloat).
The best advice anyone can give you when you are rejected is to keep trying. Don’t give up, and don’t let it break you down. How can you possibly expect other people to believe in you if you give up on yourself? Remember that you can always reapply further down the road, so in the meantime be proactive, get involved in everything you can and you’ll have proven yourself worthy to whatever foolish college dared to reject you.
Next, and this point is crucial: if your application is rejected, don’t instantly assume that you are inadequate! Many highly qualified people apply, and many of them are denied. The massive amount of applicants makes it impossible for colleges to accept everyone, even if they truly deserve it. That is why it is always advantageous to broaden your horizons and apply to an array of colleges.
Not everyone agrees with this mantra, but if you can trust that everything happens for a reason, it will be infinitely easier to shoulder your rejection. Whether you like it or not, there’s a valid reason why you didn’t get accepted. Maybe you just weren’t a good fit, or your resume was missing a specific quality they wanted, or you met all the criteria but someone else got a higher score on their SAT.
But for all you know a better opportunity is right around the corner. You could find more people you connect with at a different school. Perhaps you’ll be offered an internship or study abroad program you wouldn’t have been introduced to if you had gone another direction. Whatever the case may be, the future is unpredictable, so don’t beat yourself up about rejection of any kind because it may be the greatest blunder of your life.
You are not defined by your failures. If you are driven, determined, and your goals are strong enough you will succeed no matter where your college years are spent.
I am a senior at OHS and this is my first year in the OC Journalism Department.