The Stages of College Admissions Grieving

I’ve been rejected” is typically how students translate being denied admissions to a college. (Although, in reality, such a view is not true, many students, who have been trained to seek outward validation from teachers, parents, coaches, club sponsors, tutors etc as the arbiter of being “right”, “smart”, or “capable” thus worthy, lump admissions officers in the same category, thus often conclude they’re “inadequate”. 

So, when reading, “After an extensive review of our talented applicant pool, we regret to inform you…” admissions denial, often the first reaction is:

Or sometimes, like this:

And, this…simultaneously:

…all part of the grieving process, including the likely release of six months worth of tension and anxiety between submitting the application and receiving a decision. 

Then, there’s usually some questioning…especially if comparing oneself to that inevitable person who has a lower GPA, fewer extracurricular activities, and swears they wrote their essays “at the last minute on the day of the deadline” but was accepted…

And, the internal self-questioning can be simultaneously mixed with righteous indignation at the admissions officers:

One day (at some unknown date)  however, indignation will likely give way to an acceptance, that the admissions office is the one on the short end of the denial: 

And, then the student can not only choose from amongst the colleges where they have been accepted, knowing they’ve made a match, but also have the armor from knowing

For over twenty years, Creative Marbles experts have moderated family conversations regarding complex educational decisions, lending our expertise to reduce the risk of malinvestment. For more information, contact us.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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