How To Deal With Rejection

As we celebrate decision day, Reva Patchava (’24) offers advice for handling disappointment in the college acceptance process. ” Entering a new space can often be challenging, but letting go of past rejections and others’ opinions can help students acclimate better to new spaces.”

With the dreaded college acceptance season rounding the corner, the focus of what the purpose for college is often clouded. Thoughts flow through students’ minds thinking, “Why didn’t they accept me” or “So and So should not have gotten in”. As a fellow junior, year after year, I have seen my sister and my friends get accepted and rejected from dream schools and safeties which has put things into perspective of how people view the beginning stages of their college careers. Entering a new space can often be challenging, but letting go of past rejections and others’ opinions can help students acclimate better to new spaces. Here are 4 tips to get you through rejection season and help you achieve the best possible mindset going forward.

  1. Accept the rejection as redirection 

Many factors go into accepting a student into a specific college that do not include academics. The purpose is not to find the smartest student, but instead the student that would fit the best in the school’s environment and the ideals that they follow. Instead of thinking that the school did not accept you because your GPA wasn’t high enough or you didn’t do enough clubs, understand that the admissions officers made this decision to help you have the most success in college. Out there, there is another school that your ideals follow and has the best community and environment for you whether that may be something you want to believe and maybe this wasn’t the school you wanted. In the end, it is better to have a realization now before going into a year or two of college that the place you thought was the best option for you was not. 

  1. Keep an open mind when choosing your other options 

After receiving a rejection the first thing that you may want to do is to close yourself off and stop thinking about your other acceptances. None of the other schools may seem appealing to you at first, but it’s important to shift your focus from the school that you can’t go to and move to the options that are open to you. Instead of focusing on the negatives of the schools that you gained admission to, remember why you decided to apply there and the positives that come along with it. It is easy to get distracted and roll back into a bad mindset when the decision is not one you want to make, but redirect your attention back to your junior year self and what made them excited to apply to the schools that they did. 

  1. Focus on your own successes not others 

Much of the pressure for getting into a specific college comes from your peers. Whether your friends get into your dream school or not, admitting you got rejected where others didn’t can be embarrassing. If you find that asking others where they plan on going to college, or consistently having the college conversation disrupts your mental health, it’s ok to avoid it and it isn’t on you to ask. With it being the last couple months with your friends, spend your time reminiscing on fun memories and staying in the moment. If getting into the school that you did is an accomplishment, be proud. Whether it is considered an easy school by social standard, the work that you put into getting into is still substantial and should be celebrated. This is a success whether others believe it or not. 

  1. Surround yourself with supportive friends and peers 

Surrounding yourself with the correct people is important during such a challenging time. If you find that you are constantly put down by the people around you or they aren’t willing to support you through your acceptances and accomplishments it’s ok to take a step back and re-evaluate the friendship. During a vulnerable time, the last thing you would want is someone there to judge you based on a miniscule decision that in the end is not about them. Take the time to find the people who are there for you through both the acceptance and the rejections and help you focus your mindset on the positive and not the negatives. 

2 thoughts on “How To Deal With Rejection”

  1. This is a really excellent piece! I love how direct and specific the advice is. I find stuff like this can be flaky at times but you really nailed it!


  2. I really enjoyed reading this piece!! I love you were able to turn a moment that can be so devastating for many into a more optimistic outlook. Well done!


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