For some it will be good news, “Congratulations and welcome to the Class of 2023”. For others it will be a non-decision decision, “You have been offered a place on the wait-list”. *
And the decision no one wants to receive, “We regret to inform you…”
High school seniors who have seemingly done everything right may be blindsided by these rejections. They have worked hard and earned high grades in a rigorous curriculum, had standardized test scores that fell well within the colleges’ middle 50% of accepted students, participated in extracurricular activities, displayed leadership etc., etc., etc… In other words, they had everything the college said they were looking for.
“Why did I not get in?” There are many reasons a college does not accept a perfectly qualified student. Most often it is as simple as supply and demand—more students apply than there are spots available.
What should students –and their parents—do? Give yourself a brief time to mourn the loss of the dream. It hurts to be denied admission. But after a day or so, it is time to let go.
First, it is important to understand that you, the student, were not rejected. Your application was rejected. You, as a person, were not deemed unworthy.
Your hard work was not wasted. All that you accomplished belongs to you. You will take all of that with you to the college that you ultimately choose.
Don’t waste time looking back and don’t compare the colleges that accepted you to the one that did not. Consider them on their own merit.
Do not dwell on the negative or what is out of your control. Is the college process unfair? Sometimes. It certainly can feel that way, especially when some of these colleges went to great lengths to get you to apply. Is your life now going to be vastly different than if you were accepted to Dream University? No.
Although it sounds like a cliché, what you do when you are in college matters much more than where you attended college. This is true. Ask the folks who work in graduate school admissions or those who hire new college grads. Many people think a “name” college opens doors…and it may. But just the first one. After that it is all about you–your hard work, accomplishments, and success once you are on the other side of that door.
Put your emotional energy into a college that accepted your application and look forward to the new chapter in your life!
*For more information about the wait list and what you can do, read my blog post “College Wait List Limbo, Part I: How is the Wait List Used?” and “College Wait List Limbo, Part II: What Do I Do Now?”