When you’re in high school, nothing can be more discouraging or disappointing than receiving a rejection letter instead of an acceptance to college, especially when it’s from the school of your dreams. While it may feel like a huge setback, the truth is you still have plenty of options and an exciting chapter ahead.
How to overcome rejection and find success at your second-choice school
Always remember, this is only an initial setback.
Just as you would grieve over a breakup, it’s totally acceptable to grieve over a rejection letter. But don’t let it last forever, and try to do something productive to get your mind off the negative. Just ask Alexis Manrodt at Teen Vogue: “While it may feel like your entire future is dependent upon getting into the perfect college, a rejection letter is not the end of the world. Don’t let your disappointment keep you from enjoying what your second choice has to offer.”
So instead of letting the negativity you may feel right now ruin your day, week, or month, use this time to have fun. Plan a dinner or movie night with a group of your friends, or cure the blues with a long run or bike ride. These activities will help occupy your time with the things you enjoy most and help you cope with rejection in a more positive way.
Reach out to someone you trust for advice or support.
While it may be second nature to hold in your emotions, the best thing you can do is express yourself. Talk out your feelings with a friend who’s going through the same situation or with an adult you trust, such as a parent or school counselor. Whatever you do, don’t suppress what you feel. Doing so can lead to even more anxiety.
Attend accepted-students day at a school that accepted you.
As you reassess your options and consider the college that accepted you, why not do something productive? Attending accepted-students day will help you see that you have other exciting options with plenty to offer. It’s also a great way to see the campus, explore the area, and meet other accepted and current students.
Be open to new possibilities and the future ahead.
Attending an event on campus will help you stay optimistic and become open to the possibilities ahead. “Many people love the idea of a school or a profession so much that they’re afraid if their ambitions change,” writes Manrodt. So instead of viewing your second- or third-choice school as, well, second or third, consider this change in your plan as a fresh, new opportunity.