What To Do If You Received a Rejection Letter from Your Top College

Rejection Letter Photo: ehow.com

You’ve been waiting for the large, pristine white envelope for months from your first choice college. You open it and it reads, “Dear ____, We regret to inform you…” You’re devastated. Unfortunately, that’s life. Sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you need to try again.

Here’s what to do if you didn’t get into your first choice college.

  1. Transfer. You likely didn’t put all your eggs in one basket, so you can decide from other acceptance letters you’ve received to second and third choice colleges. Take a year at another university, keep your grades in tip top shape, and then transfer to your ideal college.
  2. There’s always community college. As depressing as that may sound, community colleges are often an affordable alternative to your first choice college, allowing you to get the college ball rolling. Choose classes that you can later transfer to the college of your choice. It’s often easier to transfer than get accepted the first time.
  3. Try, try again. Reapply next semester. You may have better luck being accepted into the winter or spring/summer semester than the fall. One guy I know applied to his school of choice five times before being accepted.
  4. Take a gap year. Take a year off to work, travel, job shadow, volunteer, play video games.
  5. Remember other famous rejects. Wildly successful business mogul Warren Buffett was rejected by Harvard Business School. Broadcasting journalists Meredith Viera and Tom Brokaw were rejected from Harvard. Ted Turner was turned away from both Harvard and Princeton. They’ve led incredible careers. It’s not too late for you, either.
  6. Register for online college. Online colleges have a near 100% acceptance rate. Plus, many online colleges don’t have the ACT or SAT exams as requirements. Don’t think you won’t have to work as hard. It’ll just be easier for you to get started.
  7. Write the college a rejection letter. This letter was published in the New York Times and was written by college applicant, Paul Devlin.

Paul Devlin
Applicant at Larg

Dear Admissions Committee:
Having reviewed the many rejection letters I have received in the last few weeks, it is with great regret that I must inform you I am unable to accept your rejection at this time.
This year, after applying to a great many colleges and universities, I received an especially fine crop of rejection letters. Unfortunately, the number of rejections that I can accept is limited.
Each of my rejections was reviewed carefully and on an individual basis. Many factors were taken into account – the size of the institution, student-faculty ratio, location, reputation, costs and social atmosphere.
I am certain that most colleges I applied to are more than qualified to reject me. I am also sure that some mistakes were made in turning away some of these rejections. I can only hope they were few in number.
I am aware of the keen disappointment my decision may bring. Throughout my deliberations, I have kept in mind the time and effort it may have taken for you to reach your decision to reject me.
Keep in mind that at times it was necessary for me to reject even those letters of rejection that would normally have met my traditionally high standards.
I appreciate your having enough interest in me to reject my application. Let me take the opportunity to wish you well in what I am sure will be a successful academic year.

Were you accepted into your college of choice this year? If you didn’t how did you deal?

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About Sarah Ward

Sarah is a social media manager and image consultant originally from Vancouver, Canada. After executing her first makeover in the seventh grade, she has been helping people look and feel their best ever since. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga, shopping on Etsy, and watching Grey's Anatomy.

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1 Comment

  • Just sharing… Paul has now released this letter on his website, DevlinPix.com! You can check there for his personal comments about it and to see what he’s up to now! http://bit.ly/GzI8jj


    Comment by Rina — March 19, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

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