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We are sorry, but . . .

Phrases like those found in this letter are some of the things that may discourage a student if he or she receives a rejection letter.  Photo by Stephanie Wang.

Phrases like those found in this letter are some of the things that may discourage a student if he or she receives a rejection letter. Photo by Stephanie Wang.

Phrases like those found in this letter are some of the things that may discourage a student if he or she receives a rejection letter. Photo by Stephanie Wang.

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It’s every college applicant’s worst nightmareemails and letters arriving from your dream school, with some variation of the same line.  You were among some of the most competitive applicants; thank you for applying; we unfortunately could not accept your application.  We are very sorry and hope that other institutions will accept youthe same lines are on every rejection letter.  

As much as potential applicants avoid thinking about the possibility that they could be rejected, the unfortunate truth is that inkling of thought or stress of not being accepted is still something that rests on the backburner of every college-bound student’s mind.  When those letters do come in, how do you deal with your application being denied?

Of course, “college rejection depression” is completely normal, and letters of rejection are devastating.  Feeling angry or upset that you were rejected is completely valid, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a break.  Recovery and being able to move on is crucial, but don’t force yourself to be hopeful and cheery when you feel stressed.  Talking about your problems with friends, family, and counselors can really help to cope with the emotions you might be going through.  

“[…]Find someone you can trust to talk to about your rejection experience. Talk through your feelings with a friend who is going through a similar situation or talk it through with your mom or your dad. A guidance counselor might also be helpful as they can help you analyze your other choices and focus on other future options,” Kelsey Damassa of Huffington Post suggests.

The first thing to realize afterward is that even though one college may have rejected you, that doesn’t mean the rest will.  Breathe.  Your academic career and your personal worth is not defined by where you go to college.  Even if your dream school rejects you, there are many more schools with impressive programs, and you might find that your second or third choice is still just as good as your first.  Psychologist Susan Bartell recommends students to tell themselves, “Let’s look where I did get into, and focus on what’s really great about those schools.”

After all, your education is worth what you can get out of it and your personal experience.  If you have a great time at school, does it matter that it wasn’t originally your first choice?

However, what happens if you get rejected by all of the schools you applied for?  This is one of the main fears college applicants have, and it’s easy to become panicked when all of your options are suddenly cut off.  

Counselors have been coming to social studies classes to discuss just this problem with students and possible alternate plans.  These include community colleges and the ASVAB test.  Mrs. Pamela Heins suggests that students who are unsure of their future plans consider possible backups and/or attend workshops for application help to community colleges, one of which will occur on Jan. 24.

For many students, plan B is going to community colleges, such as Citrus College or Mt. SAC, both of which are nearby.  These applications have no deadline until classes actually start, so you have plenty of time to collect yourself and try again.  Afterward, you can apply to transfer to a four-year university also.  For example Alyssa McClain, senior, applied to Cal State Northridge, her dream school, but she said that if she gets rejected, her next option is to apply to junior colleges in the area instead and possibly transfer in a few years.  You can apply for community colleges at

Another option is to apply to schools that you know you exceed the requirements for.  Kelly Meade, senior, applied to colleges in North Carolina and was immediately accepted, giving her opportunities and options, if she needs them.

College rejection may be hard to deal with, but remember that you are worth more than where you go to school, and that it is not the end of the world if you are rejected.  You can do it.

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1 Comment

One Response to “We are sorry, but . . .”

  1. Monica Lomeli on January 23rd, 2018 6:19 pm

    This article really talks more about the recovery of rejection and I think it’s important for everyone to know that their worth is not defined in where they go, or what title they have but in who they are as a person. It was very uplifting to read and in honesty a worthy read. 🙂


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