College Rejection Letter: Coping Strategies and Next Steps

Coping with College Rejection Letter

You are only stressed about things you are not ready for. Hence, if you know what to do, even such a stressful event as receiving a college rejection letter will not unsettle you anymore. If you have faced this unfortunate situation, breathe out now. It is not the end of the world, and we know exactly how to deal with college rejection.

Further in the article:

Why Do Colleges Send Rejection Letters: 5 Main Reasons

First, let’s figure out what has gone wrong. Whatever that is, it is not the reason for self-blaming and negative self-talk. Let’s find out what your mistake was and how to avoid it the next time around.

Reason #1. You do not meet their GPA requirements

The most common and obvious reason for college rejection is a low GPA (Grade Point Average). College admission requirements usually announce the desired academic results for prospective students. However, it may be the case that you applied to the dream college with a minimal passing score just to try your fortune. Let’s get you some help right away. Here is a list of instructions on how to get into colleges with different GPA scores:

Reason #2. You forgot to add some documents

Receiving a rejection letter may be an utterly formal thing. If your application form lacks some documents, the chances are that the admission committee did not even see it. It could get rejected by the initial machine filters.

Reason #3. You don’t fit into their extracurricular activities requirements

Many colleges value the students’ active participation in social life over academic achievements. Hence, a rejection letter from university may mean that other applicants included more extracurricular details into their letters.

Reason #4. You had a poorly written admission essay

Admissions to college have many factors involved. A good application essay is one of the factors granting students school, college, or university enrollment.

Reason #5. The college has limited space

Do colleges send rejection letters even to the top-performing students? Yes, unfortunately, they do. Sometimes, a rejection letter from a college does not mean you did something wrong. It may mean that the college received too many applications to enroll everyone.

Do you know that you can write a rejection letter, too? If you have applied to several colleges and got accepted to many of them, you have to choose. To write a rejection letter for a college, explain your reasons politely and show gratitude for their time and proposition.

How to Deal With a Rejection Letter from Your Dream University: What Psychologists Recommend

The very first thing you should do if you get a letter of rejection is to take care of your emotions. Here is how we do that:

  • It is fine to feel what you feel. Give yourself a limited time to grieve, feel helpless, sad, or angry. Do not let anyone blame you for the past; what’s done is done.
  • Concentrate on the present moment. You cannot change what happened. However, you still CAN get into college after a rejection letter.
  • Do not allow yourself to give up just yet. Imagine you are in the open ocean, 5 miles away from the nearest land. You will allow yourself to rest, relax your muscles, and give up. But you can only do that after accomplishing everything you can to fix the situation, after getting to land.

College Rejection: The First Aid Algorithm of Actions

Okay, as soon as you collect every bit of your willpower, you can think of the next steps to take. Here is the plan of actions to take when you receive the rejection:

  1. Figure out whether the reason was formal (some documents missing, any other reasons that can be easily fixed) or not. If yes, fix them, obviously! Go for the appeal letter template further in this article.
  2. If the reasons were not minor, choose whether you are going to try again this year or the next one.
  3. Learn each way to avoid rejection you can find. Some will be discussed later in this article.

How Can I Dispute the College Rejection Letter? In What Cases Can I Do That?

The answer in a nutshell – yes, you can apply again to other colleges and schools, to other campuses, or even to the same campus. But let’s discuss some more details.

“If you get rejected from a college can you apply again?”

Many students often wonder, “If you get rejected from a college can you apply again?” Yes, you can! But here are a few points to consider:

  • Usually, you must pay a fee for each application.
  • Try talking to the admission staff. In some cases, they can simply move your application to another campus without a fee.
  • There are some universities that do not support a recurrent application, so check the official websites often.

Can I ask the college why I was rejected?

You can, but most likely, they will not respond. A good rejection letter is one that explains at least some of the reasons and provides some feedback for the student. However, colleges send hundreds of application responses,  so answering each of them to explain the reasons would be complicated. Moreover, the person who sent the rejection is not usually the one who made that decision. Such decisions are collective and usually have many reasons.

Where should I send my appeal letter, and whom should I contact?

The appeal letter usually goes to the admission committee that made the decision in the first place. However, specific educational institutions may have different administrative steps for accepting appeal letters, so you will have to contact the college’s admission counselor.

How to Write an Appeal Letter: Some Standard Form Samples

Okay, now let’s get a closer look at what does a college rejection letter look like. If you do not have a response yet and you are anxious about it, let it be your just-in-case college rejection letter simulator to be prepared for any scenario.

It is better to write an appeal letter no longer than a month after receiving the rejection letter. The faster you do it, the higher the chances for your letter to be considered.

What does a college rejection letter look like? Rejection letter sample

To know how to write an appeal letter, you must first know some typical phrasings from rejection letters. Here are two typical college rejection letter templates:

  • The rejection due to the applicant’s academic achievement issues

college rejection letter

You can write an appeal letter as a response to this sample if you have some solid additional information for your application. For instance, you may have no ability to add information about new courses at the moment of application, but you can now.

  • The rejection due to the lack of places for college admission

College rejection letter sample

You can try contacting the admission committee to ask about any other courses or the presence of specific propositions in response to this letter. If your academic results are satisfying for the college, your perseverance may make a difference and grant you a place among fellow students.

If you are interested in real samples from colleges, here is what a Harvard rejection letter looks like:

College rejection appeal letter sample

Now, how should you answer a college rejection? Here are two templates for each previous case.

  • College rejection appeal letter sample for an applicant’s academic achievement issues

College rejection appeal letter sample

An appeal letter can be successful if you have solid reasons behind it. For instance, excuses like “I’ve got a complicated year” will not give you the desired result. However, if you recently faced devastating events and have a record of being a good student, you will most likely find the committees’ compassion and understanding.

  • College rejection appeal letter sample when other places for college admission are limited

How to Deal With College Rejection

In this case, your goal is not to make the admission committee reconsider their earlier decision. It may be perceived as a lack of respect for their verdict. Instead, emphasize that you:

a) Are highly enthusiastic about that particular college
b) Feel a deep alignment with its values and vision
c) Are ready to consider any options of becoming a student of that college

How to Deal With College Rejection: Apply to Another College!

Do you wonder how to get into your dream college? The best way is not to give up, even with a rejection letter in hand.

Do colleges give rejection letters fast?

There is no united policy on the time you can get your response from college. Some of them send rejections simultaneously with the acceptance letters, and some have rolling admissions. On average, the admission decision may take from a couple of weeks to two months.

Do you need to do anything specific when you receive a rejection letter?

You don’t necessarily have to, but trying to figure out what has gone wrong and how to improve your chances with the following applications will be beneficial.

When can I start applying to other colleges?

Well, you don’t have to stop doing it in the first place! Applying for about five to ten places is recommended, but there are no official limits. You can continue trying your chances both before and after getting a response from colleges.

Top Three Useful Tips for Your Next Application Letter

You may also opt for another option rather than writing an appeal letter. You can continue applying to other universities, too. After all, the United States is great and large, and so are its colleges! So, here is what you do to never deal with a rejection again:

Align it with the college’s program

The colleges that have many students with high GPAs, ACTs, and SATs start looking for something more than just good grades. They are looking for people who will be able to implement their knowledge and principles in practice. Be that person, and demonstrate that you understand what they are looking for.

The three pillars of application letters

The three pillars of the application letter are your motivation, your background, and your differentiating traits from competitors. Specifying these three points will significantly boost your application.

Make it personal

The admission committee reads hundreds of applications daily. They have already seen all types of academic and extracurricular achievements. But what is special about you? Why are you personally the best fit for this program?

Will the Rejection Affect My Chances of Getting Into Other Colleges?

The last question that bothers many students is whether getting a rejection letter can influence their chances for further applications. The answer is no; these two events do not correlate. You can receive a rejection letter from one college and get accepted into three others!

That is the reason why you should never give up after getting rejected. You still have your bravery, your sharp mind, and your perseverance. With these qualities, you WILL get into the college of your dreams; just put a little bit more work into it.

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Published by
Alice Dartnell
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Alice is a life and success coach who empowers people to create a “life by design.” She specializes in bringing together time management, well-being, and productivity in crafting the life you want. She also works with organizations to maximize the output and mental wellness of the staff.