Dealing with rejection is never easy, especially when it comes to college admissions. You’ve put in a lot of work preparing your application, applying for financial aid, and researching schools—no matter the final outcome, you should feel proud of the work you’ve done.
It’s also important to remember that college rejections aren’t the end of the world. The important thing is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and figure out what you can learn from this experience and how to move forward.
We’re going to try to help you do just that.
(And if you’re a parent reading this, be sure to check out our guide on how to help your kid deal with college rejections.)
You’ve learned a lot about the college application process
Even if you weren’t accepted this round, your time applying to schools hasn’t been wasted. You’ve gained a ton of valuable experience and insight into the process, and now you know what to expect when you’re ready to try again.
This not only means that you’ll be ahead of the game the next time you apply, but it also means you can spend more time on the areas where you could improve your application. For example, you might have struggled on the SAT or ACT, so this is your opportunity to take them again and nail them this time.
Now you know those schools might not be a good fit
It’s possible that the schools you applied to are really competitive, or your academic history just wasn’t quite there. Either way, now you know that those schools weren’t right for you—and that means you can try again with other schools in the future.
But you also shouldn’t be afraid to give your favorites another shot. If you decide to try applying to a school for a second time, be sure to look at your application materials, including your exam scores and personal essay, and see what you can improve upon.
You still have options
In our interview with a local guidance counselor about what to do when faced with college rejections, Jana Gepfert provided three suggestions for students faced with your situation:
- Take a little time off
You can use this time to travel, gain some work experience, save money, or explore your interests before applying again. Just make sure you use this time wisely—set goals for yourself, and stick to them.
- Apply to a community college
Community colleges tend to have late deadlines for applications, so you may still be able to start at the beginning of next semester. You can enroll for a short time, boost your GPA, and then transfer your credits to a four-year university once you’re accepted.
- Look for schools with rolling admissions, like IPFW
Some universities, like IPFW, have rolling admissions, which means they accept applications through the summer. Talk to your guidance counselor or an admissions representative from these universities to find out if you can still apply, and what financial aid options are still available to you.
The most important thing you can do right now is not panic. This is a setback, to be sure, but it’s not the end of your college aspirations—not by a long shot. Make a plan, talk to your guidance counselor, and keep your focus on your goals.
Remember, not every road to graduation is a straight line.