Seniors tackle disappointment, apathy after dream school rejections

Focusing on the positives after rejections from their top schools and programs, seniors search for ways to cope.

Progressing through grief from the college admissions process, students rejected from dream schools can find solace from a strong support system and relaxation techniques.
Families and students becoming attached to a selective university during the college search process is common, according to an Associated Press article by Liz Weston. However, with their low acceptance rates that continue to decrease, it is more than likely that these universities will reject thousands of qualified students.
According to Indian Crest School Psychologist Kylie Newman, students should set aside time to process these rejections and go through stages of grief such as “being upset, talking about it and seeking outside resources.”
“In the short term, it’s really frustrating and upsetting and you feel like your dreams are crushed,” Newman said. “Those are normal reactions to a disappointing situation. It in a way is grief; you’re grieving the loss of a dream that you had.”
A college that does not want a student is not a college that the student will be happy at, according to guidance counselor Tom Overberger. He believes that attitude is a large part of the college decision process.
“If you go with a positive mindset… if you’re willing to get involved and do stuff and get everything out of it that you put into it, then you’ll be successful regardless of where you go,” Overberger said.
According to Overberger, many schools only have a set amount of students that they can accept for the coming year.
“Most schools have more qualified applicants than they have space for,” Overberger said. “So just because you’re not accepted to a school doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough or that they don’t want you. Sometimes they just can’t want you.”
If a rejection letter (or email) finds its way into a student’s hands, Overberger advises students to keep an open mind.
“You can do great things at hundreds of colleges,” Overberger said. “It’s not like you can only be good at one school or be successful at one school.”
Newman said that students may apply to top-choice schools due to experiences of family that previously attended the school, prestige, specific programs, social reasons or a combination of elements.
“There’s a number of factors and reasons why people apply to different schools,” Newman said.
Sending in an application does not guarantee acceptance, particularly for the Ivy League and other schools with acceptance rates ranging from around 4-8%, according to statistics by Ivy Coach.
Weston writes that “too many people believe certain educations are worth endless effort, stress — and debt.” The Ivy League universities average an undergraduate tuition of $56,425 a year, according to College Tuition Compare.