Reseda High School

Reeling from Rejection: College Application Edition

It is inevitable.

Whether it’s in your dating life or in your pursuit of your dream college, rejection is inevitable.

No matter how much we try to avoid it, the possibility of rejection is inherent whenever we take a risk. Failure, or even the thought of it, is an extremely painful, but normal feeling. More importantly, pain is something that demands to be felt.

To try to belittle your disappointment after getting rejected from your “dream college” is (how do I put this) a nightmare. I remember after being rejected from QuestBridge the sting of disappointment and this feeling of letting not only myself down, but others. But after that rejection, I was able to take some time to reflect back and I now have some advice to share.

“Everything will be fine.”

“We regret to inform you.” These five words carry so much weight and can make you feel like a train hit you. (Image Courtesy of QuestBridge)

Rejection from a program or any college or university for that matter should be a humbling experience. During which, as you are reeling from your rejection, you will want to make sure you take the following in advance.

  1. Remind yourself that this is not the end of your life.

No matter how melodramatic your mind is, you have to convince yourself that life will get better after your rejection. Play Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” on repeat if you have to.

When I got rejected from QuestBridge, I went back to visit of one of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese.” It is a reminder that in nature, time waits for no one and that if you truly want to get the most out of life, you should stay true to your nature and follow your heart.

 “You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.


the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.”

2. With that said, beware of a broken heart. Rejection tends to wreck your morale and the best way to mitigate this is simply by making sure you are not alone. Stay in your normal routine but also make sure to keep in contact with your friends.

3. Remember Q-TIP. Quit Taking It Personal. Rejections are not a reflection of who you truly are. It is quite easy to go down that existential downward spiral. You know who you are. Be that person. Continue doing the best you can and soon those rejection letters will be nothing more than letters. I am about to expose the biggest lie sold by colleges.

4. There is no such thing as a dream school. Truly, if you’re capable of success at a school, it does not matter if it was your dream school or not. What matters is who you are at the school and whether you are truly taking advantage of the college experience. This ideal college experience should be your dream and this dream simply cannot be rejected.

Most importantly, keep in mind that everything will turn out fine. Rejection truly is not the end of the world. If anything, the closing of one door should be the opening of at least two other doors. Your heart will go on and you too will eventually announce your place in the family of things.