Updated: Feb 18
Applying for colleges is a difficult process. Through it all, it's important to maintain the right mindset when hearing back from schools and receiving decisions.
Most students receive at least one denial during the college application process, and that may happen in December, when many colleges make decisions about Early Action and Early Decision applicants. After pouring hours of effort into applications, students might encounter feelings of disappointment, frustration, or anger upon not getting their desired results
During these times, students should remember that the college application process is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone attends only one college in the end, and that’s all they’ll need, even if the acceptance letter doesn’t come today. Hopefully, during the college search process, they made sure that any college on their list will be a strong, supportive fit -- so, whatever happens, it will all work out great.
In addition, recognizing how competitive and subjective the college application process is will help students not to take rejections personally. Just because a school doesn't offer a student acceptance does not reflect upon their ability. There are hundreds of nuanced decisions that go into why someone is accepted or denied. Scrutinizing a rejection is an endlessly hopeless process, so it’s better to look toward the future.
For parents, it’s important to support students by helping them keep these perspectives in mind, and not setting unfairly high expectations for them. Going into the process with the right mindset and support will help students curtail some of the emotional struggle that comes with a denial.
For more resources on how to handle the mental stress that comes with college applications, head over to collegetorch.com and check out our blog post, “Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the College Application Process.”
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College Torch is an educational consultancy in Sierra Madre, CA.