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Dealing with college admission rejection

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Dealing with college admission rejection

Most people have to deal with some rejections in their life. Generally, it is a painful experience that you may have no choice but to accept. It can also be an opportunity for learning, changing direction or reapplying yourself. This is as true for school as it is in love and work. When rejected, some people walk away, some persist, some others rethink their options or try to appeal decisions.

Every situation calls for an assessment of the best way you can respond given your individual needs and what is possible. Let’s look at what three students decided to do when they had to deal with a rejection regarding admission into a sought-after program:

Ted always wanted to be a teacher. He completed a university degree and applied for the Bachelor of Education program. He didn’t do sufficient research prior to his application to know what courses would be in most demand, what grades he would need and what else would help his application to be competitive. After he was rejected, he arranged to speak to an admissions department staff member. He found out what courses he needed to add, what experiences would strengthen his application and the grades needed. Over the next two years, he added those courses and gained relevant work experience to his application, and then reapplied. He was successful and believes that his efforts to become more competitive and reapply demonstrated to the admissions department his commitment to the field.

Fazia had done all her research. She knew what she needed to get into a professional program in speech therapy. She worked hard, had gotten excellent grades and more than met all the other admission criteria. Her admission to the competitive graduate program should have been easy. She was very surprised when she was rejected. One of the school counsellors had asked someone from the admissions department of the school she applied to, why such a good student didn’t get accepted. The counsellor was told that there were so many good candidates that they never even got to her application before all the spots were taken. This rejection was out of Fazia’s control. If she had applied to several programs instead of just one, perhaps the outcome would have been more favorable.

Vinny was planning on going to medical school but so were many of the classmates in his program. He worked hard, added extracurricular activities but knew he had to have alternatives since the vast majority of applicants aren’t accepted. When he was rejected, he proceeded to apply to work in a medical technology but planned to try for medical school again. He felt that working directly with patients might help his future application to medical school if he decided to apply again.

Understand the situation and how to move forward

When faced with academic program rejection, after dealing with the disappointment, a number of things should be evaluated. Do you understand why you were not successful? Is it possible to get specific answers? Do you have any basis on which to appeal? For instance, is there new information that might be relevant such as a recent award you may have received? Have you prepared an alternative direction that also appeals to you? Is it possible or worthwhile to apply the following year? How can you strengthen your application? Is it even under your control?

In some cases, you just have to accept the rejection and move on. Hurt pride is natural but you just won’t want it to take over the next set of decisions you plan to make to deal with the situation you are in. Preparing for rejection with alternatives should be part of the plan. After thorough research and soul searching, take some control by deciding how to proceed. Sometimes when one door closes another may open and that option may end up being suitable as well.

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