How To Handle the College Rejection Letter

FROM: College Made Simple.

Dear College Made Simple Reader,

The majority of college applicants will be rejected by at least one school.

That’s not always a reflection on the student, though. There are so many things that go into the application process – and sometimes they have nothing to do with your child.

In fact often times there’s no easy explanation for the rejection…

Most schools have many, many more qualified students than they can accept. Applicants may get left out because their state is over-represented in the student population… or because the schools have different extracurricular needs.

These are things students can’t do much about. What they can control, however, is how to react to the near-certainty of getting rejected somewhere.

– Scott

How To Handle The College Rejection Letter

1. Get Mad

It’s ok to feel bad about a rejection.

But remember what I said above – rejection isn’t always about the student. It’s often about the needs of the school. If your student is applying – and you’ve done your homework – odds are they’d be a great fit for the school. Just not this year.

For example, if Harvard wanted to, they could fill their school with students who have perfect GPAs and perfect SATs. Yet many of those students get rejected in favor of others who have (very minor) blemishes on their record.

If a perfect GPA and SAT don’t guarantee admission, nothing will. There’s a lot more going on than the student’s profile when it comes to the admissions process.


2. Get Even

If your student is rejected by a school they really like, they might want to pursue it further.

Some schools have an appeals process, so it helps to find out exactly what that process is, in advance. If you do appeal, make sure you include new information – another semester of excellent grades, for instance.

And – always remember to include a few new letters of recommendation.

While the odds of acceptance may be slim, there are usually some students who get in through appeal, depending on the school. Simply showing the initiative and desire to attend can sometimes be enough to put the student over the top.

Failing that, if your child truly wants to attend a particular college that rejected them, find out what is needed to transfer a year or two in – and then do exactly that. Make sure you know just how competitive it is to transfer into that school. You can start by asking the school directly.

3. Get Over It

Each school is an opportunity – but don’t forget, each school has opportunities as well.

Actually attending is where you find out if the school holds all the best opportunities for your child.

There are countless examples of highly successful people who look back on a rejection as a pivotal – and positive – turning point in their lives.

Warren Buffett, for instance, often talks about how happy he is that Harvard Business School rejected him.

He wound up going to Columbia instead, learning from Benjamin Graham, the mentor who taught him all about value investing.

So if your child gets the dreaded college rejection letter, don’t get hung up on what might have been – rather, move on to Plan B.

To your college funding & admissions success,

Scott Weingold
Co-founder, College Planning Network, LLC

Publisher, College Made Simple – The Free Educational Resource of College Planning Network, LLC