Facing A College Rejection Letter

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Farah Weheba
Farah Weheba

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Guess what? Sometimes, even stellar candidates get rejected, for a whole variety of reasons. So we’re serving up some perspective to untangle your sense of self-worth from your college admissions letters and college rejection letters. Check out this whole growth mindset business. We can face a college rejection letter together.

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Firstly, here’s some perspective if you start to intertwine your sense of self worth and identity with college admission to Ivy League schools.

Our hope is that these reminders help you manage your expectations and maintain healthy confidence in your abilities no matter what’s in your mailbox. A college rejection letter does not mean your world is over. We promise. You’ll have an incredible college experience. All you need to do is ask for help when you need it and adopt a growth mindset. 

Without further ado, here are some “notes to self” we hope you remember.

  • An Ivy League School accepting you does not determine your worth as a person.
  • An Ivy League School rejecting you does not determine your worth as a person. 
  • Your worth as a person is actually not up for debate. Imagine that.
  • You are a hard-working, goal-oriented individual. 
  • You’ll learn new skills at any university you attend.
  • And, you will make new friends at any university you attend.
  • You will struggle to keep your dorm room clean at any university you attend.
  • Also, you will have to pledge brand loyalty to some type of laundry detergent, maybe for the first time and maybe not, at any university you attend.
  • Don’t accidentally buy fabric softener instead of laundry detergent…
  • Where were we…right, universal college experiences…
  • You’ll find your way and navigate any campus you land on, in whichever major.
  • You will have a formative journey and eventually graduate if you stick with it.
  • You get to be just as selective about the universities you want to apply to as they get to be about the candidates they admit. Flip the script
  • This is a two way street- a university selects you and you get to select them back.
  • You are a bright individual with a hunger for knowledge and the motivation to graduate. 
  • A university would be lucky to gain you in their student body because you are an asset with unimaginable potential. A college rejection letter doesn’t undo your power or potential. 
  • It is always difficult to receive news that you were not selected. This goes for job applications in the future, too. A college rejection letter is hard to face but totally manageable.
  • Managing your expectations is important. Understand that there are things universities need that have nothing to do with your adequacy.
  • Success is within reach and takes many forms. 
  • Success isn’t only attainable at the Ivy League Schools. We promise.
  • You are enough. You’ll be fine.
  • Better than fine, actually. You’ll do great. We just know it.

Growth Mindset

Still looking for more? Then check out Growth Mindset, a learning theory developed by Carol Dweck. Growth mindset is all about believing that intelligence can be developed. Learners with a growth mindset have mastered that they can gain success through hard work, implementing good study strategies, and by seeking help when needed. The opposite is fixed mindset: the belief that you’re either born with brains or not. That’s a deterministic way to see the world that makes sharp students with immense potential give up at the first sign of obstacle or rejection. Instead, adopting a growth mindset predicts more success in school, and way less stress! College counseling can help. 

  • A college counselor can help you process a college rejection letter and plan your next steps.
  • If you feel depressed for longer than a week about the news, think about seeing a therapist short-term to help you get through the disappointment and bounce back. 
  • Therapy is confidential and healthy. Ask for help if you need it so you can continue to thrive. 

If you’re feeling hopeless or are thinking about harming yourself, please reach out for help because you have so much value. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

All calls are free and confidential. 

“Don’t be afraid to let your friends, family, or teachers know what you need; they want to help.” 

Working with an Empowerly college counselor can also help you develop a growth mindset and bounce back from setbacks. We’re here to support your process, minimize your stress, and remind you of your incredible achievements when you forget. 

Questions? Let us know!