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How to Cope When You’re not Accepted to Your First Choice College

For many high school students, applying to college is incredibly stressful, especially if you’re very attached to your top choice school. If that school winds up rejecting your application, it can be utterly heartbreaking. But there are ways to cope with not getting into your first choice, and you should absolutely take advantage of them unless you like being miserable about stuff you can’t change.

Check Transfer Rates

Just because you didn’t get in this year doesn’t mean the door is shut forever. College grades are typically far more important than high school grades, so if you work like mad your first two years at a backup school and reapply, your fate could change. It might be difficult to spend two years not getting too attached to one school in the hopes you’ll be able to leave for another, but if you were planning on graduating from your first choice for the better part of your childhood, it might be worth it.

Find People Who Hated It There

If you don’t see a transfer in your future, one way to make yourself feel better about not getting accepted into your top school is finding people who had bad experiences there. No place is right for everyone, even Ivy Leagues. Go online and see if you can’t find testimonials from people who didn’t enjoy their time at the school you thought would be your one and only. Because here’s the thing, you didn’t actually attend, so you can’t guarantee you would’ve loved it as much as you thought you would. It’ll help you let go and feel better to remind yourself that in this case, college rejection might have been a blessing in disguise.

Let the Anger Out

Something really bad just happened to you. Odds are, you put a lot of hope and effort into the process of applying to your first choice, and your first choice said, “No, thanks!” It stinks. And no university is going to give you a detailed explanation as to why you didn’t make the cut. All there is left to do is blame yourself, and while you shouldn’t do that in the long run, let your brain do it for now. Let yourself be angry, sad, frustrated, and hopeless for a little while. You tried hard for something and it didn’t work out. You need to let yourself go through all the emotion that comes with that before you can truly move on.

Embrace Your Backups

If you applied the right way, you had a few backup schools to choose from, and we bet some of them admitted you. They weren’t your first choice, but you were theirs, so now it’s time to show them the love they’ve shown you. Learn everything you can about each one. Once you’ve made your decision on which school you’re going to attend, focus on the good things so you can get yourself excited. If Michigan State University wasn’t your first choice, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good school. Look at every positive review online like it’s a big, red, “click here” sign, and read every single one. You don’t deserve to have your college experience ruined because you didn’t get into your first choice school. The truth is, it could’ve had very little to do with you, so move on and embrace the school’s that worked to have you.