HT deal with University rejection letters

Rejection letters hurt!

Even though I go review the final chosen university list with my students, and discuss the high risks for those highly selective schools, getting a “ We regret to inform you…” response is never a pleasant situation.

For some students it may feel personal, but the reality is that it has nothing to do with you!   Universities have to balance the number of seats available, the situation the university is in at the moment, financial aid, etc…before selecting an admitted class.  Additionally, the more selective the universities only accept a small percentage of students, even though most who applied were academically qualified. All the same, getting rejected sucks!

Here are a few tips to help you keep this in perspective:


  • Take the time to process it all – It’s ok to cry, be upset, take time out, or talk to your family, your college counselor or friends for support.  Applying to universities was an intense process and you put a lot of effort into it. It is ok to grieve the results. Do what you must to help you feel better and move forward.


  • It is not personal— I know I have said this already but I can’t stress it enough.  Each year universities get more applications than the number of seats they have available.  This means that admissions officers have to consider all the factors– often from a highly qualified application pool— to create their version of a “well-rounded” class.


  • You are not alone! –– Many students receive rejection letters from one or more of the universities they applied to.  This is more true if the university list was that of highly selective universities. For instance, each year Harvard has an acceptance rate of around 5%.  That means 95% of highly qualified students did not get an offer. Highly sought after schools just don’t have the seats for the number of applications they receive.


  • Don’t dwell on things. —  Should you have taken the SAT one more time? Asked for another recommendation letter? Done more volunteer work? Don’t waste time trying to figure out what went wrong and the “what ifs”. The admission process is very complex.  Dwelling on “what ifs” is not going to change the outcome and just leave you feeling deflated.


  • Get excited about the schools who accepted you- Yes! Celebrate your acceptances and start looking at all your university options.   Getting accepted to university is a great feeling and choosing where to go is the next step.  Take your time to evaluate your offers and find the one that feels like the best place for you.


  • Consider your options– You have several things to consider if you did not get into the school you wanted or did not get offers.  You can start at a community college in the USA and then transfer to a 4 year program later on, or for the UK you can enrol in a foundation course & try again in the next application cycle.  Alternatively you can consider taking a Gap year and trying again later.


Dealing with rejection letters is never easy but remember this is not the end of your academic career.  You will find a place that is right for you and look back at this time and know that it all worked for the best!

Let Varsity Abroad help you build your university list and guide you through the rest of the application process to reduce the stress related to applying abroad and increase your chance at being accepted.

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