No matter what anyone says, rejection hurts. A LOT. Rejection is an almost unavoidable experience of being human. We all experience it at some point in our lives in some shape or form and yet, those times we do are often the times we feel the most alone.
Today we’ll look at one kind of rejection in particular - being rejected from your top choice universities. Yes, the dreaded email that starts with “Unfortunately…” and you suddenly feel your heart sinking.
It might feel like your life has hit a titanic iceberg when you don’t get the uni offer or exam results you wanted. But it’s so important to remember that this is one little stumble in the grand scheme of things.
How we react to rejection is often equally or even more significant than the rejection itself. This is why learning how to deal with rejection is so important! To learn our top tips on coping with rejection, read on.
It’s Okay To Feel Heartbroken
For some students, uni applications represent the culmination of many years of hard work. If you don’t get into the universities you wanted to, you might feel like all of your hard work for nothing, and you may feel heartbroken. And that’s okay; it’s a completely validated reaction to not reaching a goal you’ve worked so hard towards.
It’s natural to feel sad and the need to grieve. But you can’t spend the rest of your life in bed, especially if you still have to sit your final exams. Set a self-imposed time limit on the active grieving process. Give yourself a few days to indulge in self-care and digest this information. Watch some movies, read a book and go out. Take time to relax, take the pressure off yourself, and take care of your mental and physical health.
After a few days have passed, you’ll need to resolve to move forward. You might still feel a tinge of sadness, but it’s time to start channeling those emotions into something productive.
Get back up and prepare to take on the world again.
It’s Nothing Personal
You didn’t get a rejection letter from a uni because the admissions officers didn’t like you. The admissions decisions are in no way an indicator of your worth as a person or as a student.
University admissions decisions are based on so many factors that you can’t control. If you did your best to control the ones you could, then you need to know that there were other factors at play.
Universities receive far more applications than their available spaces. This inevitably leads to a lot of academically capable students to be rejected. Some applicants may have not been offered a place because they were not academically ready to do well at that university. At highly selective institutions, only a small percentage of students are accepted while many of the students who apply are academically qualified.
Don’t Let Rejection Define you
Try to remember that being rejected from a university doesn’t define who you are - and it doesn’t determine how successful or happy you’ll be. All universities have to make the difficult decision of turning down some students.
Instead of dwelling on it, start to work through your emotions and focus on the future. You still have so much to look forward to.
Your First Choice University May Not Be The Best Place For You
While it might seem like the most perfect place you could imagine, no university that doesn’t recognise what an amazing candidate you are is going to be the best fit for you. There are many amazing universities out there, and odds are high that you will be able to succeed elsewhere that is the best fit for you personally.
Redirect your focus to the places that you did get into. Join social media groups for offer holders. Reach out to current students or recent graduates. Try to learn more about the uni and get a better feel for it. The more you know about it, the better prepared you’ll be to make an informed decision about where you do go.
Ask Yourself What You’re Going To Make Of This Opportunity
Instead of thinking of this as a door closing, try to think of it as one that has opened. You have an opportunity in front of you to start fresh. What are you going to do with this opportunity?
Alter your mindset to see this as an amazing chance to attend a uni where you’re truly valued. If a place doesn’t want you, you’re probably better off elsewhere anyway. Some day, the uni you went to will not matter nearly as much as what you made of your time there.
You can either be a dedicated student and a committed member of the community. Or you can begrudgingly go through the years there wishing you were somewhere else. The choice is entirely yours.
Talk To Someone (even if it’s not easy)
Experiences like these are best shared with others so you have support. Don’t hesitate to talk to your family or friends about how you’re feeling. They might have gone through something similar and will be able to offer advice.
If you need more help, speak to a professional. They can help you navigate through this experience so you can make the right decisions for your future.
No matter what, don’t keep this bottled inside. Receiving a university rejection letter doesn’t mean your life is over, but it still stings.
Telling others about your rejection will help you deal with it eventually. Other people can guide you through these moments so you come out on top.
And remember that time helps. Time gives you closure.
You Don’t Have To Share Everything
Not everyone needs to know everything. We all tend to overshare on social media at times. However, your journey to uni might be one of those moments where you learn to slightly hold back.
Everyone, from your teachers to your family and friends, might get really invested in your uni application especially if you are a high achiever. Making everything public to hundreds of people can put an unnecessary pressure on yourself that you don’t need.
Another thing along the same lines: seeing others post their good news on social media. This can make you feel like you are the only one having to deal with this “failure” but actually, you’re not!
Try setting yourself daily limits for social media apps, unfollowing accounts, uninstalling these apps or just shutting off your phone temporarily.
Don’t Dwell On The “what ifs”
What if you had worked a bit harder? What if you had done more extracurriculars? The list could go on for a while but it won’t change anything.
Don’t dwell on what’s done because that won’t change the admissions decisions. As long as you tried your best, there’s nothing more that you could have done.
And don’t just focus on the negative.Celebrate the acceptance letters. You have worked hard to get in. Universities don’t accept everyone, especially for the more competitive courses. So if they accepted your application, they want you. Celebrate your accomplishments!
Move on and enjoy your time at the uni where you do end up going.
Learn From The Rejection
Everyone likes to hear about the things we’re good at. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognise our weaknesses as this is the first step to self-improvement. As human beings, we can’t be good at everything. At least not straight away.
Actively trying to grow and develop as a person is an admirable quality in itself. People will be more likely to help you or give you feedback if they are confident you are actually listening to them.
On the point of getting feedback, if you decide to take a gap year and reapply to university a year later, email the university admissions officer to get some feedback on your application. Identify the areas of your application that need improvement and work on them.
A Final Word
Remember that a rejection letter is not the end of the world. Instead, it is a detour on the way to your ultimate goal.
Detours may not be the route you wanted to take, but sometimes you’ll find them to be a better way to get to your destination. You have amazing things to look forward to.
Make the most of your time at the uni where you go because that’s what matters the most.
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