It is that time of year when students are receiving either their acceptance or rejection letters from colleges. Every senior student that I have seen thus far is extremely stressed awaiting the news. Some have already received their responses, while others are on a wait list.

It is important to recognize that rejection letters are out of your control. Many schools are overwhelmed by the number of excellent students they must turn down. Colleges are flooded with applications making the college admission process quite challenging. As in all aspects of life, it is difficult to understand why one applicant is accepted while another is rejected, especially if you happen to be an honor student with impeccable grades.

Take, for example, the recent news scandal with celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Wealthy parents, actresses, coaches all charged in a massive college cheating admission process. How can this be fair to a student with 1500 on SAT’s who doesn’t get in?

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Many students are invested in this process on a very personal level. If they are rejected from a school, it is an embarrassment to them, their friends and family. While rejection really hurts, it’s an opportunity for personal growth. We tend to compare ourselves to others. When we do this, we are always at risk for disappointment. There will always be someone out there who is smarter, has more money, more connections and is in the right circle. 

Where you go to school does not necessarily determine your future. What you make of your college experience is far more important than where you will be attending.

Frank Bruni has a great book about this issue, called, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. An excerpt :

“My wife really wanted to go to the University of Virginia and didn’t get in.  I really wanted to go to Georgetown and didn’t get in. So we both ended up at Delaware.  It was a place where all of us felt that if we worked hard, we could do well. I never felt like the school wasn’t going to give me the tools to be successful” -- Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey and 1984 graduate of the University of Delaware.

Rejection hurts especially when you have tried your best and have given it your all. It isn’t the end. You can always make the most of it wherever you end up. Just because you didn’t get into the college of your choice, it doesn’t mean you are not good enough, or less than someone else. Do not allow an admission officer decide your future.