Arrg! I got the thin rejection letter now what?

January 30, 2009

Facing college rejection head on by J.D. Wyczalek

In March-April the letters from colleges will start rolling in. Fear and panic engulf many high school students who are hopeful they will be accepted into their top choice college. The dread of the thin response letter grips them.

First and foremost it is not the end of the world there are options. The first thing is that you should have applied to more than just one college. The recommendation is to send applications off to 8 colleges. Also remember the percentage of admitted students at top colleges in the United States is very low. Some are as low as 11%.

Worst-case scenario, you have been rejected by every college now what? There are a couple things that you can do.

One thing you can do is take a gap year. Review the article at on the Gap Year Experience. Type ‘gap year' in the search window. However you must have a return to college plan.

Another option is to call the colleges that rejected you and ask why you were rejected. Mom or dad should not call the college. It is the student's responsibility; it will show the college the student has initiative. If it was for poor grades ask the admission officer if there is anything you can do. They may suggest taking classes at a community college and reapply the next year. BUT do very well on your grades, get help, find a tutor and a mentor. Find other students that have great grades and study with them, learn how they study.

One last effort is to appeal to the college to re-review your application. Yes, it should be the student who initiates this process. After calling the college and discovering why you were rejected put together a plan.

Write an appeal letter with a resume of accomplishments and send it priority express to the key decision maker in the admissions office. Sending your letter to someone who does not have the power or authority to make a decision is a waste of your efforts. List the key points the college should reconsider.

The next step is to follow up. Call the admissions office. Remember they are extremely busy during this time. Be polite and courteous. Ask if the letter had been received and if there was an opportunity to review your file. Sometimes just the initiative shows the admissions office you are mature and responsible. And with this knowledge sometimes minds can be changed.

If the appeal doesn't work maybe one or two years at a community college might help. Get great grades, good extracurricular activities, volunteer and charity work and perhaps employment, the next time might be better.

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