What to do when you are not admitted at your first-choice college

The wait is over. You now know at which colleges you were accepted, not accepted or placed on a waiting list.  And now the ball is back in your court: where will you enroll?

For some of you the decision is easy, you were accepted at your first choice college and the financial package you were offered fits your family’s budget.  For others the decision may not be as easy.

John was not accepted at his first or second choice college.  His heart was really set on his first choice.  Although he put on a brave face to his friends and family, he was deeply disappointed.

It was not like this school was a long shot for him.  His grades, number of rigorous high school courses, school activities, and test scores all indicated that he stood a good chance for admission. His ego took a blow, not to mention his self-confidence.  Even with the support of his family and friends, he needed time to lick his wounds before opening his eyes those three colleges that did accept him.

DOING THE RIGHT THING: He revisited his reasons for applying to those schools.  He established a new ranking and set up visits to remind him of the student culture and offerings of each of those schools. One was a public university and the other two were private. Because of his excellent academic record and evidence of leadership, he received generous scholarship offers from both private colleges.  Those offers leveled the playing field as far as cost of attending.

By the last week in April, John had re-visited each of these schools and was able to identify the one school where he got the greatest sense of connection. He made his decision to attend.  He also placed on the back burner the knowledge that if, once established in his selected school, he still looked longingly at his original first choice college, he could re-apply as a transfer student. This back-burner knowledge gives him extra incentive to begin his college career with an impressive academic record. However, the most likely reality is that once John invests himself in the academic and campus life of the school he has chosen, he will establish strong ties to his new college home, thriving academically and socially.

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