When Your Child Doesn’t Get Accepted to Their Number One College

Posted by Andrea Needham on Jan 10, 2018 3:00:00 PM

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As parents, we know our kids may not get accepted to every school they apply, but upon receiving a letter of rejection, that reality is the last thing college bound students wish to hear. It’s essential that our college hopefuls recognize the lessons this process provides, not only in decision making, but in surviving the setbacks of life. This highlights the importance of having a plan in place that includes a number of choices and options. Here are some tips for parents in helping our kids to prepare for and cope with unwanted rejection:

Even before applying to colleges, some students write out the pros and cons of each college they’re considering. This technique not only helps to develop your child’s ‘top picks’, but may also come in handy if/when they begin to receive rejection or acceptance letters. If they are denied from their ‘top pick’, the list help for a swift recovery and a list of pros to bring back the excitement found in the other choices. Also, once accepted to a particular school, further investigation might expose some ‘pros’ your child’s other picks once held exclusively.

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At schools with acceptance rates of 50 percent or less (schools where there is a significantly larger number of applications than seats), there just isn’t room for every qualified applicant. Most of the students who received rejection letters would have performed just as well as, and in some cases better than, those who were accepted.  Talking about these rational statistics with your child can alleviate some of the inner emotional aspects of receiving a letter of denial.

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Feeling sad and disappointed is a normal and natural emotion.  Remember, it is ok for your child to take some time to nurse their feelings, but we must not allow them to obsess about it.  Expressing or embracing our emotions can be healthy, but teaching our young adults to let go, move on, and keep a positive mindset is a vital life lesson. Resenting the school or the students who got accepted will do no good.  Tell your child that it’s ok to feel bad for a little while, accept the fact that they didn’t make it for whatever reason beyond their control, and then move on. This also helps our kids to find enjoyment and help celebrate when their friends and classmates are accepted.

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Throughout the whole process, commit the outcome to the Lord.  Holding their future in His hands, He knows the best college for your child.  One of the worst things a parent can do is to display an unhealthy response towards any school's denial. Becoming angry with any institution or overreacting can be a harmful example for our kids and hinder their own process of coping with rejection. Even more, your anger and frustration infers that the schools your child does get accepted to are not good enough.  Assure your child that they are amazing and uniquely created by God and that sometimes God’s best for them doesn't align with their own desires.  You can use this process as another opportunity to show your child that prayer is a key to experiencing overwhelming peace, whatever the situation.

This season of your child’s life is an exciting one and holds many lessons they will learn and take with them wherever they go!

"When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place."

Big Benefits of a Small School | Horizon Prep

Topics: College, college acceptance