It’s a horrible feeling. You’ve worked so hard. You’ve invested so much time in community service and extracurriculars, put forth so much effort into keeping up your grades – not to mention how hard you worked on your applications. You know you’ve done your best and yet, when the letter comes, the results are disappointing: waitlisted, not accepted at the time or accepted, but not to the specific program.
College admissions are stressful, hard and sometimes they don’t go the way you plan. It’s okay to be upset or even angry, but you can’t give up. There are always other options.
If You Didn’t Get into Your Dream College
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First of all, I’m sorry. It’s hard to have a dream not come true—trust me, I know. Still, you’ve probably applied to a couple of other colleges and now you’ll have to choose between them.
The thing is, you cannot let your emotions get in the way. It may be difficult, but make sure to make your decision based on what’s best for your future and not just the feelings you have over the school that you didn’t get accepted to.
If you don’t have that “gut-feeling” about the other schools like you did with your first pick school, then look at logistics. How much do the other colleges cost? Where are they located? What benefits do they offer for your major? What is the community like? What aid are you getting from them?
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Also, remember that your dream isn’t completely over. You can always transfer into the school you wanted to go to after a couple of years of attend graduate school there. If you are really passionate about a certain college then you should continue to push towards that goal. Just don’t forget to keep your future in mind when following your dreams.
If You Were Waitlisted
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Being waitlisted means that you were accepted into the college, but there isn’t enough room for you at the moment. If it is your dream school you shouldn’t give up, but there are steps you have to take to give yourself the best chance at being admitted. HerCampus
explains five actions that will help you reach your goal:
1. As you as you get the decision let the school know you are still interested.
Sooner is better because responding quickly (like the same day) will show admissions how serious you are about the college.
2. Remember to always follow up.
You should send additional letters and essays about how much you want to attend the university. If they keep hearing from you, they won’t forget you.
3. Keep your grades up and if possible try to improve them.
Nothing impresses colleges more than continued determination and revamped work ethic.
4. Continually let the college know about any additional accomplishments you achieved.
This includes internships, awards and, if the college allows it, additional letters of recommendation.
5. Be intense, but polite.
If the admissions office feels like you are attacking them they will no longer want to consider your acceptance. Don’t send gifts or have other people call for you. Let your words and your credentials speak for themselves.
If You Weren’t Accepted Into a Program
This one is hard. If it’s your dream college then it makes sense to consider going there. In most cases you can transfer into the program you wanted after establishing yourself at the school. However, if transfers aren’t allowed, or it the school wasn’t your first pick, you might want to look elsewhere. The overall university you attend is important, but so it the specific program because that’s where your future lies. If a school cannot give you the tools you need to be successful in your future then you should think about other options.
One Last Thing
College admissions are complicated. There are so many factors and even a seemingly perfect application might not be enough that year for some obscure reason.
Is being denied disappointing? Yes. Should you be disappointed in yourself? Absolutely not. You should be proud of yourself for working so hard and for caring so much about your future. You should be proud of every accomplishment you made, no matter how small, because it means that you’re not giving up. Be proud of yourself. I know I am.