‘Tis the Season of Highs and Lows

It’s supposed to be the jolliest time of year, but perhaps not for everyone. With college admissions being consistently more confusing, and acceptance rates continuing to plummet at some schools, the holidays can wind up being a season of bad news for some students. Perhaps they had their heart set on an Early Decision school, or really wanted to be admitted to another school. When the news isn’t great, it’s easy to spiral down into a sad, disappointment vortex. So here are some of our top reminders for students feeling the pain of college admissions decisions this time of year.

  • Remember that you applied to a balanced list for a reason. Reach schools are just that- schools where your chances of being denied are better than being accepted. Hopefully you were realistic with yourself and applied to a handful of targets and safeties as well.
  • Remember all the factors you can’t control: who reads your application, where you fall among all the other applicants, what the college needs that particular year, how many students from your high school applied, even the order in which your application is read can make a difference. The Harvard freshman class, for example, is more than one-third legacy students. Where your parents went to college is completely out of your control. None of these factors are about you.
  • Remember that many fine candidates are rejected from top colleges. Some colleges are notorious for reporting that they could implement a freshman class from the rejection pool with the same stats as the acceptance pool. That means that the rejected students are just as bright, capable and awesome as the accepted students.
  • Remember that being deferred or waitlisted does not mean you’re out. There are things you can do in these situations, and we have outlined them in this previous blog post.
  • Remember that you will probably never know why you weren’t admitted to a particular college. You can analyze it all you want, but it will be a fruitless effort. Life goes on and the things that don’t work out sometimes happened for a reason.
  • Remember that everyone feels things differently. It can feel like grief, disappointment or loss. It’s okay to take time to process it. But then it’s important to move on and celebrate the acceptances. It’s also important to ask for help with coping if you need it. Parents, school counselors, college counselors are all here for you.

It’s sometimes easier said than done to look at the bright side and remember that everything happens for a reason. But, there are many colleges who would love to have a student like you. Try to celebrate the wins and quickly let go of the losses.

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