The 5 Stages of College Rejection

The 5 Stages of College Rejection

By Contributor

travelwriter21 told us "this article has been written based on experience, sadly." BOO. Oh, but she also said "Not that come next year I'll be a hobo, traveling the mountains in search of ramen noodles—I've been accepted to plenty of colleges too." YAY!—Sparkitors

Well Sparklers, ‘tis the season of college rejection letters. If, like me, you applied to schools such as Fancy University and The University of Expensive Education, you’re likely to receive at least one of these unwelcome intruders in your mailbox. Of course, you could just run screaming when you see that dreaded Thin Envelope from the college of your choice, but you’ll have to face reality sooner or later. Here’s what to expect, and how to get through it.

The Five Stages of College Rejection


Stage 1: Denial.
Every rejection letter is different, but their messages of woe are all the same. Interestingly, highly scientific and not-at-all-fake research has determined that upon receiving a college rejection, part of your brain actually melts into a pile of uncooperative mush. This mush is unable to comprehend that you have been rejected, and may cause you to do such things as re-read the letter several times in the hopes that you misinterpreted it, or check the address to make sure that the letter is actually for you. Feel free to do so, but be warned that is will only make you feel worse.

Stage 2: Anger. Once you understand that there has been no mistake, and that you really were rejected, it’s time to get angry. I recommend screaming to the heavens “A pox on you, [insert name of college]! You know not what you do!” If no one else is around, feel free to throw in some expletives for color. It may also help to rip up the letter and either flush or burn it. However, if you’re thinking rationally, a more reasonable alternate course of action is to save the letter and, when the wounds have healed, place it somewhere obvious as motivation to succeed in life (so that you can show that college what an enormous mistake it was to reject you, of course).

Stage 3: Bargaining. This is reminiscent of Denial part II. You might try to think of all the ways you could still attend the university (Transfer! Graduate school!). You may also try to console yourself by thinking of all the things that were bad about the school, similar to the way you would attempt to get over your crush. I recommend this, as it will definitely make you feel better, if only a little bit. They had a stupid lacrosse team, anyway! And no nuclear reactor on campus!

Stage 4: Depression. The reality has sunk in. You won’t be attending Fancy University. If you need to cry, go ahead. I won’t make fun. Personally, I think a good way to deal with this is to just take a nap, because when you get up you may be able to see things a little more in perspective. If you’re not a napper, I recommend chocolate. This is no time for shame.

Stage 5: Acceptance. You are now able to accept what has happened and return to whatever you were doing before you made the mistake of checking the mail. You’ll probably still be upset, but please don’t connect a college rejection to your worth as a human being. I assure you that the two things are entirely unrelated. And besides, just because you were rejected from one college doesn’t mean you’ll be rejected from every college. In fact, don’t tell them I told you, but the admissions people at Awesome University liked your application so much they built you a small shrine. Expect you acceptance letter within the week, delivered by a courteous elf.

How do you deal with college rejection letters?

Related post: Creative Uses For Your College Rejection Letters

Topics: college, rejection, college admissions, rejection letters, anger, denial, frustration

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