Caroline is a 17-year-old Junior in high school who enjoys being on her school's debate team, rock climbing and playing the guitar. Her favorite subject is Biology and she would like to incorporate it in her future career.
There is nothing worse than coming home from school and finding a small, white envelope addressed to you from the college of your choice. Your heart stops as you slowly open the letter. Everything is a blur after you read the fateful words “we regret to inform you …”
Rejection in any form is difficult to deal with, but rejection from a college is up there with the most difficult. As a teenager, you think: What did I do wrong? Am I not smart enough? Did I not study hard enough? Was my entrance essay not polished enough? Similarly, parents think: Could I have helped my child more? Should I have been more encouraging with schoolwork? Have I been too lenient in my supervision of my child’s academic career?
It will be difficult, but it’s important to not let college rejection letters get you down—especially if your goals have been extremely high. Remember, even kids with perfect SAT scores get rejected from Harvard. Focus instead on the schools you have gotten into and be proud of these achievements. If you didn’t apply to safety schools, it’s not too late to apply for a spring semester at other colleges or perhaps look into your local community colleges. It may be a good idea to shoot lower than your caliber because many colleges offer scholarships for higher-ranking students to come to their schools.
As a parent, you should be as supportive as possible during your child’s difficult time. Remind them of their options and encourage them not to give up. College rejection can be a serious blow to a child’s self-esteem, so be sure to remind them why they are a valuable person and how this experience can strengthen their character. You can help keep your child’s mind off of it by helping them prepare for their alternative colleges where they were offered acceptance.
Preparing for college can be an exciting process and you shouldn’t let rejection letters spoil it for you. Consider all of the options you have available and do some research to get excited about your new school. If time and travel permits, you can visit the schools you are now choosing from to get a feel for what attending the school will be like. If you know anyone who has already chosen to go to one of the schools you’re choosing between, make plans to hang out or study together while you’re on campus.
As a parent, you can help your child prepare by shopping for school and dorm supplies. You could even look into a new outfit for the first day of school. The important thing is to remind them that this is a big event to look forward to. As a parent, it may be difficult for you to watch your child leave the nest, so to speak, but remember that they are making a good life decision by going to college and you should always remind them of that.
A tradition among many families is to have a special party or dinner celebration for a child going off to college. You can invite extended family members and friends so your child can feel supported and proud of their decisions. Life doesn’t always turn out exactly the way we want it to, but a positive mental attitude and support from friends and family can make all the difference when it comes to coping with college rejection letters.
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