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What to Do if You Didn’t Get Into Your Dream School

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We’re living in indisputably strange and uncertain times as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, and the college acceptance process and rates have been impacted like everything else in our once-stable world. As a side effect of the global pandemic, which has prevented travel and inspired some students to reconsider their desire to live far from home, Ivy League and top-tier school acceptance rates have actually crept up a bit in an attempt to fill their 2021 incoming class (learn more about this here). 

For example, acceptance rates at Harvard are up .29%  Meanwhile, this year, the Yale acceptance rate is 6.54% (up .63% from last year), and Columbia’s is up .8%. from last year, too. Dartmouth’s acceptance rate has increased by 1.5%. 

Still, we know the following happens all the time: You get an email from your dream school alerting you that a decision has been made regarding your college application. You click the link, feverishly type in your login information (don’t forget to reset your password! Chances are, you forgot it.), and boom you’ve been…rejected. 

The important thing to remember is that a rejection letter is not the end of the world (even though we know it feels like it!). In fact, our founder actually believes that — get ready for this one — rejection can be good for you. Here’s what you can do to help turn lemons into lemonade. 

Related: COVID-19 Updates  Here’s What You Need to Know

Do Your Research

If you’ve been waitlisted, consider writing a letter of continued interest. Use this letter to update admissions on any new accomplishments you’ve achieved since your initial application submission. Has your GPA increased? Did you obtain any new leadership positions? In the letter, you should also reiterate your interest in the school — why do you want to go here? What makes this school stand out? Be specific! It’s also important to note that not all schools accept these letters, so do your research before you start writing. Some schools may require students to fill out specific templates, while others don’t accept additional materials at all.

If you got rejected from your dream school, it’s time to start thinking about Plan B. Which brings us to our next point…

Related: How to Get Off the Waitlist

Weigh Your Options

Time to come up with your new gameplan. Start by asking yourself why you applied to said dream school in the first place. What attracted you to the university to begin with? Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for in a school, it’s time to start thinking about finances. Do you require need-based financial aid or merit scholarships? If so, it’s important to seriously consider schools that can meet your financial needs. The goal is to come with several viable options for yourself. It’s also important to keep an open mind throughout this entire process. Perhaps you acted too quickly and shot down a college just because your neighbor went there and you wanted to spread your wings socially. Or maybe you never really considered a school that you thought was too close to home and now feel like being a short drive away from your family is important to you? It’s not too late to reassess your options and come to new conclusions.

Related: What To Do When You’re Rejected From Your Dream School

Believe in Yourself

Just because you didn’t get into your top school does not mean that you’re a failure. College admissions is a tough game and, when it comes down to it, your desire to learn and make the best out of this situation will drive your college experience, regardless of where you end up. After all, you’re in control of your own destiny. Also, remember that you can always change your path down the line (transferring is an option!).  Your future is not set in stone…

Here at CEA, we believe that everything happens for a reason. Try your best to roll with the punches and ride the waves. In the end, any hardships and obstacles you may encounter will better prepare you for the future.

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