It’s no secret that rejection hurts. Asking out your crush or not getting the job that you wanted can be painful, and getting rejected from one of your top choice schools can sting even more. Though it might be difficult for you to think positively right now, you should know that, luckily, this isn’t the end of the world. Not only do you have a bright future ahead of you, but you’re also among great company—did you know that Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, Barack Obama, and Steven Spielberg were all rejected from their first choice colleges? Still, it’s not an easy position to be in. You might be wondering what you can do right now to set yourself for success in the future. Luckily, there are many next steps you can take that will help you cope, feel better, and get ready for life after high school!

Set your sights elsewhere

While you might feel frustrated and want to give up on college entirely, this isn’t always the best option. Think about the other colleges that you may have applied to, been accepted to, or are waiting on results from. Every college has its upsides and downsides, but you should consider all the options available to you. Which one seems best?

Should you also consider the context of the rejection—were you rejected during early decision or regular decision? Was this your top choice school? Was this the only school that you applied to? If you were rejected during early decision rounds, keep in mind that you still have time to apply to more schools and rethink your college application strategy if need be. Most regular decision deadlines are from January 1st to January 15th, but it depends on the school!

If you truly don’t think college is right for you, you may want to think about other options, like taking a gap year or attending a trade school. At the same time, keep in mind that one rejection does not mean you’re worthless as a person or have no future ahead of you (just like getting accepted wouldn’t have validated your entire existence, though it may feel like it).

Other action steps

Appealing The Decision

If you are truly unhappy with your admissions decision, you might consider appealing. You could write a formal letter to the admissions committee explaining why you deserve to be admitted.

Keep in mind that you should have a very good reason as to why you should have been admitted (like raised SAT scores, a new accomplishment, etc)., and this letter will be best if supplemented with a letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor in your life. Also, be aware that appeal letters are very rarely successful—but if you feel like it’s worth a try, then go for it!

The Takeaway

Dealing with rejection isn’t easy, but luckily, there’s more you can do than just sit around and feel sad. Take this time to make a new plan for yourself. Do you want to attend another college? Take a gap year? Try to transfer in two years? It’s also important to take note of your emotions. Notice how you are feeling and ask for help when you need it. There are important lessons to be learned from this new challenge!