What to Do if You Aren’t Accepted to Your Top-Choice School

November 19, 2018
Posted in Student Tips
November 19, 2018 ACS

By this point in your high school career, you might have narrowed your college choices to a short list of three or four. You might even have chosen a “dream school”, and you’re really counting on getting that acceptance letter. So when it doesn’t come, you have every right to feel disappointed. But what now? On top of handling the letdown, you still have to formulate a Plan B.

First, a little perspective…

You are not alone! It might sound unbelievable but approximately half of high school students receive the same disappointing letter in the mail. And since it happens to so many people, you might not be surprised to learn that those same people go on to become plenty successful in their chosen fields. In fact, Steven Spielberg didn’t get into his first-choice school, and neither did Oprah.

Don’t attach too much meaning to prestige. 

Some students get their hearts set on a particular college, because they are certain the school’s name holds the key to success. Yes, some schools do have a great reputation, but it’s what you do at college that really counts. The doors of opportunity will open to you, regardless of where you attend college, because of the choices you make while there. Good grades, networking, grad school, and many more accomplishments will help to build an impressive resume.

Speaking of grad school…

If you decide to go to grad school, you might have a second shot at your dream school in just four years. How great would that feel?

Fully investigate your other options. 

Maybe you focused so hard on your top choice because you spent so much time visiting or reading about it. After that unfortunate “no thanks” letter arrives, your mailbox will likely contain a few acceptance letters from your second- or third-choice schools. Now is the time to make a decision between the schools that did accept you, so devote your attention to moving forward. Go for campus visits, hit up some special events, tour the dorms, eat on campus, and sit in on a few classes. Really get a feel for those schools, and you might just fall in love with one of them. Now you can continue planning for a fantastic freshman year.



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