“REJECTED”: Grieving College Admissions Results in Six Parts

Being denied college admissions can feel like one’s identity and experiences are wholly inadequate. However, remembering that college admissions officers’ decisions are not a measure of one’s worth or defining of one’s potential.

Here are some possible ways to cope with the inevitable emotion of being denied admissions: 

  1. Give yourself permission to have your emotions

Being frustrated, disappointed, numb, jealous of others is only natural, and inherent to being human. Thus, don’t repress your emotions or criticize yourself for being emotional. Instead, acknowledge what you’re feeling, seeking the support of friends, family or other trusted mentors to express whatever you’re experiencing. 

  1. Focus on the Facts: Rejection is a misnomer

According to the Oxford Dictionary, “rejection” means: a person or thing dismissed as failing to meet standards. Many college applicants meet and exceed the college admissions eligibility standards. Yet, not everyone can be admitted to a particular college just for being qualified, given space limitations, the institutional goals of a particular college, like diversity of people based on study, geography, background, gender and the extreme sentiment in favor of attending selective colleges leading to excessive demand chasing a fixed supply. 

Thus, one particular applicant isn’t “rejected”, just denied entry to a particular campus. 

  1. Keep Things in Perspective 

One set of college admissions officers’ choice is only one choice from one university. Likely, you’ve applied to multiple colleges, (hopefully) having done your own investigation on why the university is a partner for your goals, and thus can choose from a variety of other colleges, where you are being invited to join them. Your value as a student, as a person is not defined by one single admissions decision. 

And, keep in mind that Stephen Spielberg was denied admissions to the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts three times, finally accepted at California State University Long Beach, where he connected with an internship at Universal Studios, garnering the attention of the studio head at the time, and the rest is history, as they say. 

  1. Reflect & Reevaluate Your Vision

Analyze what you’re seeking in life, how any college education can be useful in actualizing your life’s purpose. Then, no matter where you attend college (or even decide another non-college path is for you), you’ll now have a road map to live life fully

  1. Get Support

Ask mentors, friends, family, counselors, priests, anyone you trust for their supportive ear, who will let you talk through whatever you’re thinking. Use journals, playlists, or even sitting quietly to listen to your own thoughts to reconnect with what’s true to you

The support of others can help you regain perspective, analyze the facts, and refocus your efforts on the complex process of selecting a college, as well as see the joy in being selected at other campuses. 

  1. Keep Moving Forward

Failure, which is really “unmet expectations”, is inherent to living. Ellen DeGeneres says, “When you take risks, there will be times when you’ll succeed, and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” What is defining, is how you deal with such challenges, like being denied admissions. 

Success isn’t defined by a college acceptance letter, essentially being invited to a join a particular campus, but by the effort and determination you have to realize your life’s purpose, based on a confidence in your aptitude, which can extend through your lifetime. 

Thus, have your emotions. Seek support to regain perspective, through analysis and remembering the facts. Then, you’ll naturally move forward. And, with continued effort, you’ll walk the path you need, and isn’t that the ultimate success?

The experts at Creative Marbles Consultancy can moderate conversations helping families mold a consensus regarding final college selections. Contact us at Creative Marbles Consultancy

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.
View all posts by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy →