Seniors: Get a head start on your college apps this summer!

What If I Get Rejected From My Top-Choice College?

Monday, December 11, 2023

What do if you've been deferred

As colleges begin notifying applicants of their admissions decisions, many students — especially those who applied to highly-selective universities with notoriously low admit rates — may be faced with their worst-case scenario: getting rejected from their top-choice college. Receiving a rejection from a top-choice college can be crushing to students, but it’s not the end of the world.

How to Prepare for Admissions Decisions

Sometimes, the wait is the worst part of the college admissions process. While it can be easy to spiral into thoughts of worry and anxiety about the results, it’s important to remain positive. At the end of the day, if you applied to a balanced list of reach, target, and likely schools, you will find a place where you belong! Sometimes, however, thinking positively is easier said than done. Here are some strategies to remain positive as admissions decisions begin to roll out.

Think About How Far You’ve Come

The college admissions process is stressful. Not only have you filled out applications, gathered all the necessary materials, and written and revised a college essay and multiple supplemental prompts, but you’ve also done all of that while balancing your senior year coursework. Regardless of your admissions results, take time to congratulate yourself on all your hard work so far!

Remember Your Plan B

Even if you don’t receive an offer of admission from your top-choice school, you’ve applied to a selection of colleges that you would feel happy attending. As we said before, if you’ve applied to a balanced list, you’re bound to receive some acceptances from schools you’ll still be excited about!

You Still Have Plenty of Options

If all else fails, rest easy knowing this isn’t the end of the world. Plenty of schools accept applications after January 1. You could apply to one of those options or even save some money by applying to a community community college. Even if you aren’t excited by any of those options, remember that you can always transfer! Taking a gap year or deferring admission to the spring are also options.

How to Deal With a Rejection

If you do ultimately get rejected, first, take some time to process the decision. Getting a rejection is never easy, and you’re bound to feel a lot of different emotions. Take some time to work through your feelings, but don’t spend too much time mourning.

Next, take a look at where you did get in! If you applied to a balanced list of best-fit colleges, you’re bound to have a number of accepted college admission decisions to choose from. Evaluate your different offers of admission, including any financial aid, and decide where you want to attend in the fall. This is a good time to revisit any research you have on the colleges where you were accepted, and even visit again if you have the opportunity before the May 1 enrollment deadline.

Many students will ask: Can I appeal my rejection? While there are a handful of cases where students have appealed and subsequently were admitted, it’s an extremely rare occurrence, and not worth your time. Generally, we advise students to accept a rejection and move on. You should want to attend a college that wants you!

Remember, while a rejection is disappointing, it’s not the end of your college plans. If you built a balanced college list with a mix of schools that are a best-fit for your needs and goals, you will be sure to have acceptances to choose from.

IvyWise Services for Rejected Students

At IvyWise, we offer a number of services for students who were rejected from their top-choice colleges. In addition to counseling on which schools to attend based on where students were accepted, IvyWise can also help students plan for the transfer admission process should they chose to attend one institution then transfer after their first year. We also offer guidance on gap years and other alternatives for students who may need additional guidance before reapplying to colleges next application cycle.


Related Topics

12th Grade
Sign Up for the IvyWise Newsletter
 简体中文 »
close wechat qr code