Friday, December 19, 2014

I Applied Early Action and Got Rejected…Now What?



Dear Applicant,

(General statement about how carefully they read your application and/or how many applications they received.) We regret to inform you that we cannot offer you a place in our incoming Class of 2019. (Another general statement about how this year’s pool of applicants was stronger than ever, and not every worthy applicant could be accepted.)

For those of you who got into your early decision (ED) or early action (EA) schools, congratulations! You can rescind the rest of your apps (if you even started them at all) and enjoy the semester ahead. As for those of you who didn’t, you probably received a letter similar in format and content to the one above. And honestly, there’s only one sentence that matters up there, and it’s the fact that you didn’t get in – you didn’t get into this college that you poured hours into editing essay drafts and dreaming about walking on that campus, living that life. So how do you get over it?

I went through this myself when the results of my early applications rolled around and I found I’d been rejected from my EA school last year. My letter, of course, said “Class of 2018,” but I assure you that the sentiment was the same. Looking back, I realized the best ways to deal with rejection.

Let yourself be sad…

Honestly, it’s all right to be upset or disappointed or frustrated or bitter. That’s a perfectly normal response to being turned down by one of the schools on your college list and it’d be too much to expect if you bounced right back, perky and ready to face the next result. After all, I’ve had my share of “what-if” worries and angry tears.

When college acceptances and rejections are out – as is already the case for those of you who applied EA or ED, and then around February for regular decisions – it’s inevitable that some students at your high school will be announcing and even posting pictures of their acceptance letters to Facebook. Just like one Facebook friend of mine posted a screenshot of his 2400 on the SAT (like, thanks, that helps my self-esteem a lot!), plenty of people on my News Feed had to share their achievement with the world. Not that this is a bad thing, and don’t hesitate to do it if you want to, but for those who didn’t get the same happy result, try not to let it get to you. You still have letters from Regular Decision (RD) schools coming up, and safety and target schools are on your list for a reason. Keep your head up!

…but don’t take it personally.

The college application and admissions process is an intricate and unpredictable thing, more wild animal than human system, in my opinion. Which is not to say admissions officers are rampant and animalistic, but it’s hard for students especially to predict what will happen next.

Admissions officers take so much into account when deciding whether or not they want to accept you – that’s why they ask for so many components in your application! With each piece of paperwork, extra-curricular activity, award, and essay response to a supplemental question, they’re building a more complete profile of you. Though college applications are no fun for the student, it’s worth the effort to give the “you” presented to the schools some depth and character. No college wants a cookie-cutter standard student, and everyone comes from different worlds with different stories. Sometimes your story isn’t what the admissions officer is looking for. Sometimes your story doesn’t fit into the overall library of the university you wanted to get into through EA or ED. And that’s okay, because you’re meant for somewhere else.

I also came to realize how important it is whether you’re in-state or out-of-state when applying to public universities and smaller universities in general. There’s been a shift towards accepting more international students, for instance, with University of California schools because they’re able to pay for more tuition, and UC schools desperately need funding. Or a small liberal arts school with fewer spots to fill will look towards taking from another state rather than its own, as might’ve happened to me.

Look forward, not back!

Honestly, it’s not so much the school, but your attitude toward it. When I didn’t get into my dream school, or my reach schools, or even a school in the geographic area I wanted to be in, I didn’t think I would enjoy college at all. But I tried to keep an open mind and found that my first semester of college has been filled with happiness, with incredible people I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t come to this school.

Think about it this way: if you go to a school set on hating it, you’ll find plenty of things to despise, like how far or close it is from home, how difficult the classes are, and how exasperating your floormates are when it’s late and you can’t sleep when they’re shouting in the hallway. College isn’t the sparkliest, prettiest place to be. But if you look at how amazing it is that you have the opportunity to receive a higher-level education, that you’re surrounded by new people whom you have so much to learn from, it’s not bad at all. It’s actually kind of awesome.

And in the end, your undergraduate education will be replaced by your experiences as you begin working in the real world. Not getting into one school isn’t the end of the world.

Many early application results are out! What was your reaction when you heard back from your ED and EA choices? Tell us in a comment below.

Feed Post from More Than A Test Score



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