After you send in your college application, the hard part starts. The weeks or months spent waiting for a college to accept or reject you are stressful. While you're waiting, you may experience anxiety or wonder if you did enough to get into the college of your choice. Questions of “what if” or “will I” can take over your thoughts until the day the letter comes in the mail.
While the urge to constantly think about your application is typical, try not to make it your primary focus. Remember, you still have friends, family, and activities that can distract you from the wait, and there are plenty of things to do during your senior year. In the meantime, stay involved in your activities or try new ones.
Remember that you're not the only one going through the waiting period. Talk with your friends about how they feel and ask your family how they felt when waiting for their letters. Sometimes the feedback and sense of community can decrease anxiety and anticipation. Try to remember your loved ones are there for you, so ask them for emotional support when you need to boost your mood.
After you send in your applications, find ways to manage your expectations. There are thousands, if not millions, of people applying to college simultaneously. If you apply to a big-name school, expect the competition to be fierce. Due to the competition among prestigious or prominent named schools, you should also apply to other schools. Applying to other colleges doesn't mean you think you won't get in; it means you are planning.
The day has come when you find a letter in the mail. Maybe you already know what the letter will say because the college emailed you or utilized social media, but now you have the paper copy. Whether the letter is an acceptance or a rejection, remember to breathe before opening the envelope. You can also:
Consider your environment: You may not want your family around you when you open the letter. Maybe the thought of not having your family with you is unthinkable. If you're going to open the letter privately, that's okay. Sometimes, you need to process what the letter says before sharing the news with others. Having time to yourself may be essential if the letter is a rejection. Conversely, having your family or friends with you when you read the news can provide you with the support you want and need.
Plan for the “Now what:” Whether your letter is good or bad news, you will have a "Now what?" moment. Before you receive the letter, set a plan to help you cope with the emotions of both an acceptance or rejection.
Regardless of what the letter says, remember to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Unfortunately, rejection letters are a part of applying to college. Try not to take a rejection letter personally. The committee that reads applications is looking for specific criteria that only some will possess. Does this mean you're not good enough? No, because there's a college that is a perfect fit for you. However, if you're rejected and are trying to cope with emotions like depression, you can use healthy coping skills.
Remember the following things when coping with a rejection letter:
Being rejected by a college, especially if it was your first choice, is disappointing: However, it's okay to feel disappointed and discouraged. If you need to talk with someone about your depression, reach out to a therapist.
Don't hide your feelings: When people ask you how you feel, tell them the truth. Most will understand how you feel and may give you ideas of how to cope.
You're not to blame: All across the nation, many people are receiving the same news. If you took a chance and tried, that's a victory.
Move to Plan B: You most likely applied to more than one college. Before you think all hope is lost, wait to see what those colleges say. Rejection from your first choice can become the best thing to happen. There is a possibility that another college is the perfect fit for you. Be open to accepting an offer from one of your other choices. If you don't have a Plan B, you can talk with your parents or friends about other options. You can also work with a coach to help you sort through rejection while creating new plans.
Additionally, you can always take a gap year. Perhaps, you don't have a Plan B or a clue what you want to do now that you're not going to college. Take a gap year and learn about yourself. Find a job in a field you think you're interested in or one that pays enough for you to explore your interests. Go out and volunteer, stick to your passion, or work on your physical and mental well-being. Gap years can give you the time you need to assess and process.
A college acceptance letter is a process. Before you hear back from the colleges you applied to, you should take time to enjoy the space between submitting and finding out. Immerse yourself in activities, social events, and family gatherings. Once the letter arrives, take time to process the news. Whether your letter is a rejection or an acceptance, your life is changed. Suppose the letter is a rejection of your first choice. It's okay to feel disappointment. Share your feelings, and if you need it, ask for help. Perhaps you have a plan B or have applied to safety colleges. Focus on your options and live in the present. However, if you need therapy or coaching to help you through your emotions, SokyaHealth offers therapy and coaching via telehealth. Regardless of your location, you can talk to someone who can guide you through the struggles you are facing. Find out how SokyaHealth can help, and call (877) 840-6956.