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Getting rejected from college is a bummer, no question about it. But being rejected from college doesn’t mean that a student will not get into any colleges or that a student can’t be successful later on in life. Read on for what students who did not get accepted to a college that they really wanted to attend should keep in mind:

Honor your disappointment, and then move on. It is natural to feel sad and disappointed after not getting into a college, but students should not let rejections interfere with their lives or detract from other places that have accepted them. Students should allow themselves some time to “mourn,” and then move on to other things. Being rejected sucks. Nobody likes it. But it is also a part of life (even outside the realm of college!), and the sooner one learns to deal with it and move on, the better.

Don’t take it personally. Not getting into a college is not a reflection of a student’s worth as a human being. It does not mean that a student could not have done the work at a given college. It does not condemn students an unsuccessful, miserable existence in college or afterwards. It is important to remember that college admissions decisions depend not only on students, but also on institutional priorities that have nothing to do with an applicant’s abilities. Colleges also receive many more applications from qualified students than they have slots to offer.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing themselves to other students (“why did s/he get into x university when I didn’t?”) will only make students feel bad. Colleges accept students based on a number of factors—some related to applicants, some not—and there is no way to know the reasons why one applicant was accepted while another one was not.

Realize that you will get in somewhere. If students have done their research and compiled lists with a range of schools, they should find comfort in knowing that they will have somewhere to go to college, even if it was not their first choice. One way students might get over their disappointment is to focus on the places that have accepted them and what they have to look forward to in the fall.

Remember that college experiences depend on the effort that students put into them. Because much of the college experience—academics, social life, extracurricular activities—depends on how much a student puts into it, students can have excellent college experiences wherever they end up going to school. College experiences are within students’ control. Students should therefore take comfort in knowing that wherever they go, they can get an excellent education, have wonderful experiences, and be successful in the future!

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