How to Deal With Not Getting Into Your “Dream” College

Dream College
Dream College

Failure to get into your “dream” college can feel like the ultimate gut hit, especially if you’ve spent years putting in the effort to make it a reality. But here’s the thing: it has no bearing on who you are. This type of failure can be beneficial, exposing you to fresh opportunities you might not have explored before.

It’s vital to realize that dreams don’t always mirror reality when it comes to applying to your “dream” college. Thousands of seniors are forced to accept the fact that they will not get admitted to the school that they aspire to attend more than any other. This occurs for a multitude of reasons, ranging from demographics and numbers to the selectivity of the schools. Dealing with rejection from your ideal school, in any event, takes time. There are, however, ways to get over it quickly and be content with your decisions.

Here’s How:

1. Focus on the Good

So you didn’t get into Yale or Harvard? That’s fine. What about your second, third, and fourth options? You had a motive to polish your application essays and pay the application costs. So, if you’re having trouble seeing the bright side, sit down with a pen and paper and write down all the advantages of the schools you were accepted to. Remember the fantastic cafeteria, the massive dorms, and the gorgeous green quad that was considerably more alive than your ideal school.

2. Read Up on the Art of Failing

It can be difficult to see the forest through the trees at times. However, there is a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. Growing up entails a lot of rejection. While your friends may be rejoicing, you should be as well, because you are going to be put to the ultimate test: how you handle disappointment.

Did you know that the Harry Potter series was rejected a dozen times before being released and that Michael Jordan was kicked off his high school basketball team? However, we all know how these stories ended. That’s because, if you allow it, rejection can propel you to achievement.

3. Give Yourself Time to Grieve

Allowing others to tell you how you should feel is not a good idea. Parents, no matter how well-intentioned, may urge you to quit whining or being dissatisfied. That’s also not right. Rejection, particularly from universities, is painful, and you’ll need time or assistance to digest it.

Make a friend who is going through a similar situation. Speak with a teacher who may have knowledge or a keen ear. Don’t be scared to cry, meditate, get a manicure, or eat a gallon of ice cream in one sitting. We’re not going to tell. Simply do whatever it takes to feel well.

4. Reframe the Narrative

To reframe the narrative, you must first embrace what you can control – and what you can’t. Sure, you have some control over your grades, extracurricular activities, and achievements, but once you submit your application, there’s not much else you can do.

It’s also important to keep in mind that a school did not reject you as a person. They turned down a sample of your previous work and experiences.

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5. Redirect your Attention

It’s tempting to get caught up in the details of why you were rejected. But the truth is that you’ll never know. Instead of focusing on the uncertainty, a more productive (and distracting) coping method is to divert your attention to something else.

You don’t have to reinvent yourself, but pouring your energy into something that makes you happy — whether it’s art, a sport, or simply hanging out with your friends — or attempting something new may feel better than doing nothing.

6. Practice failing “better.”

When you’ve failed before, the possibility of failing or being rejected again might be terrifying. So, how can you avoid being reluctant to take risks in the future because of a previous failure?

A technique to practice getting better at failure, similar to yoga or learning to play an instrument, is to push yourself out of your comfort zone in little ways regularly. Do activities that make you feel a little uneasy, but not afraid.


Really, It may be difficult to notice right now (squints eyes), but where you go to school does not define your identity or predict your future achievement.

Acceptance (or rejection) letters, Ivy League schools, or what universities your friends attend aren’t indicators of your self-worth. So relax, take a few deep breaths, and trust that you’ll wind up precisely where you’re supposed to be. It might be devastating to be denied admission to your “dream” college. You can do it.


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