How to Deal with Admission Decision Envy

Monday, April 1, 2019

How to deal with jealousy in the college admissions cycleFocus on Personal Accomplishments Instead of Comparing Yourself to Others

All across the country, students who applied in the regular round are anxiously awaiting emails detailing their college application outcome. While rejection can always be difficult to deal with, it can seem particularly challenging when a friend or classmate gains admission to your top-choice school. Admission decision envy can cast a shadow over an otherwise successful college admissions process, but there are ways to deal.

Although there is no cure-all for some of the negative feelings that can some with admissions decisions, there are a variety of tools students can use to come to terms with their decision outcomes. Keep reading for some of our top tips for avoiding college admission envy and making the most of every college admissions scenario.

Acknowledge Your Feelings
Jealousy or envy can be hard to cope with because oftentimes there also a sense of guilt associated with it. This particularly true if the person you are envious of is someone close to you, like a best friend or teammate. Instead of avoiding or denying these emotions, take a chance to reflect on them. The college admissions process is complex, and it can be unclear why one student was admitted when another wasn’t. While students shouldn’t dwell on this uncertainty, it can be helpful to acknowledge it and maybe journal about it or discuss your emotions with a parent or sibling.

Express Gratitude
After you give yourself time to reflect on your feelings, avoid wallowing or fixating on the situation. Instead, frame the scenario in a positive light by focusing on where you did get in and brainstorming on what you have learned throughout the college application process and what you can be grateful for. Reflect on the parents, teachers, and friends that have helped guide you throughout application season and the passions and interests you will have the chance to further pursue in college. Write down a list of at least 3-5 people, circumstances, or scenarios that you are grateful for and the exciting opportunities available at each of the schools you were accepted to. 

Write Down Your Goals
Don’t stop when you are finished brainstorming what you are thankful for; instead, make a list of goals for the future. Looking ahead can help prevent students from obsessing over the college admissions process and what they could have done differently. Take some time to think about how you wish to finish off the year, your plans for the summer, and the goals you aspire to accomplish during your first year of college. It can sometimes be helpful to think even bigger; envision where you want to be in five or ten years and make a list of some of the steps you will need to take to accomplish these big-picture aspirations.

Explore Other Options
While it is normal to feel disappointed after receiving a college rejection or waitlist decision, strive to focus on the other opportunities that are available to you. It may be beneficial to schedule more college tours after receiving all of your acceptances, to re-evaluate each option and approach every school with a new perspective. Instead of fixating on a rejection, delve into learning as much as possible about every option for the fall. Even if you weren’t wowed by a college when you toured years or months ago, students who keep an open mind may find themselves falling in love with a campus they once overlooked.

Be Compassionate
At the end of the day, it’s important to try to be happy for your friends and peers. Even if you are still coping with your own rejection, be supportive and excited about what people close to you have accomplished. It may feel bittersweet but have faith in the admissions process and get excited about the opportunities that await.

Students with a balanced list of best-fit schools should feel confident and excited about attending any of the institutions they have selected. If you are currently working on compiling your own best-fit list, our team of college admissions counselors can help broaden your horizons.

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