You’ve opened the letter, read the email, visited the portal. The response is not what you were hoping for. You’re disappointed, and this is a very fair reaction.

Applying for colleges is a long and hard process, one that takes up a lot of your time both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, a lot students feel that not getting in to the top college of their choice is embarrassing or a reflection on them as a person. We want to make sure you know right away:

That is not the case.

The number of students applying to colleges is skyrocketing. UCLA had a 5.7% increase in freshman fall 2018 applications this year, and those numbers are similar across many college admissions departments. Colleges have a very tough job selecting students to join to their campus, and the hard truth is that they will have to send rejection letters to thousands of very deserving students.

Do you know what the great news is?

You will get into plenty of other schools. You probably already have! You will get to open acceptance letters to some other truly great colleges and decide which of those is the best fit for you. It is important to remember that you still have some big decisions to make, and that come time to start at your new college, you will still feel just as excited stepping foot on to the campus you get to call home for the next little while.

For now, take some time to feel disappointed. Dealing with rejection is an important part of life as we grow up, and it is natural to feel sad when things don’t go the way you wanted. Give yourself a few days to feel those emotions, but make sure to talk it out with someone you trust (parents, siblings, friends or your guidance counselor are all great options).

Most importantly, don’t dwell.

After a few days, it is important that you get back on track. You will be getting acceptance news, and when you do you will need to decide how you want to make your acceptance decisions. This will be a wonderful time and one that you have earned with all your hard work, so enjoy it and treasure the moment!

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If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can support us – and it takes just a moment to give via PayPal or credit card.