College Decision Time … Is Rejection Possible?

Many students’ reach schools will be announcing their admissions decisions soon.  Some will get the good news they have been expecting.  For others, this may be the first time they will experience real disappointment.  Most students that apply for the “very selective” universities have spent their lives as high achievers.  They are used to having their hard work pay off.  What should we do, as parents, when it doesn’t?  (HINT:  You cannot go beat up the admissions officer.)

  1. 1. Give them time to grieve.  If your son/daughter has been dreaming about going to this college since the time they could talk, understand that you can’t fix this.  They need to process this in their own way.  Likely, their first “adult” experience.

2. Be there for them.  If it’s hugs they need, hug them.  If it’s silent support, be silent.  If they lash out little, don’t take it personally…up to a point.  (Disappointment does not give them free rein to be nasty.)

3. After a few days, take an active role in helping your son/daughter move on.  It’s time to create a PLAN B.  There is not much time.

Things to keep in mind:

• Admissions is a crap shoot.  It’s not personal.  There are considerations outside of their control, like size, quality and make-up of the current applicant pool.  The students that don’t get in this year, may have been the perfect candidate last year.

• Many colleges have similar attributes.  Help them to discover what was appealing about the college, other than the name.  Size, location, “vibe”, look and feel of the campus are all considerations.  A great website for discovery is  And, if they haven’t already done so, apply right away.

• College is a fun and wonderful experience.  They are going to have a great time, no matter where they go! I promise!!

• Sometimes it’s nice to be a big fish in a little pond.  And, being in the top 1% at less prestigious school rather than the top 30% at an “Ivy”, means something to employers.

• Speaking of employers, over 68% of employers don’t care where you went to school.  They are more interested in your major and who you are as a person.  Life does not end because XYZ didn’t recognize their greatness.  As a matter of fact, it’s only just beginning…

• There are dozens of universities that would love high quality students like your son or daughter.  What that means is that they will likely give them lots of money that will drastically reduce their cost of college.  (If this is your son/daughter it’s all right to secretly do the “happy dance”.)

• Unfortunately, life isn’t fair.  Disappointments happen.  It’s not what happens that determines how far you go in life, it’s how you handle it that matters.

• Finally, remember, God (the Cosmos) has a plan.  If you didn’t get into the school of your dreams it’s because you are meant to be some place else.  There is a reason for everything that happens and it serves us.

I was listening to an interview this morning and he made a couple of great points.  First, Be a ROCK STAR in your field.  And, sometimes it’s necessary to make your Plan B, your Plan A.  Make your Plan B, your Plan A.  Great advice!

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