Denied College Admission? It’s Nothing Personal

College admissions – it’s decision time.

Updated January 29, 2020

Like most college-bound high school seniors, you spent the last 12 months visiting colleges, researching schools for the “best fit,” completing admission applications, pouring your heart into college admission essays, and asking people to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. And now you’re waiting to hear whether you are: Accepted. Denied. Wait-listed.

Accepted. That’s the easy one and it’s even better if you’re accepted at more than one college because then you get to choose where to go to college.

Denied. That’s the big OUCH. It hurts to be rejected by anyone and especially by a college you really wanted to attend.

Wait-listed. That one hurts, too, and it prolongs the anguish of not knowing where you are going to attend college.

Ripping open a letter from the college admissions office should not feel like you are ripping a bandaid off a fresh wound. Don’t let it get to you.

Make A Plan B

Mildred Johnson, director of undergraduate admissions at Virginia Tech, advises,  “Do not take the process too personally. Many students do get offered admission to their first choice and, in many cases, the colleges they feel is their 2nd choice becomes their 1st choice.”

Take whatever admissions decision you are given and assess your options. If accepted by your 1st choice, ask yourself “Is this really where I want to go to school?” Visit campus again, meet with professors in your field of study, and talk with students before accepting the offer.

If you are denied admission or wait-listed, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. The admissions decision is not personal–it simply means the admissions team did not see you as a good fit for the freshman class the school is trying to establish at that time. Now that you know that, move on to Plan B. Johnson suggests attending another college or a community college and then transferring. “Transferring is always an option should students want to explore what I call ‘Plan B’. It should be an exciting time for a student, so they need to take a breath and relax .”

So breathe and make a Plan B that suits your life. Maybe taking a Gap Year where you work and save money, travel, or help others through a volunteer program either locally or abroad? Or consider applying to other colleges. Community college could be an option. You have choices!

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