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Dealing With Your College Admission Decisions

Accepted? Denied? Deferred? Waitlisted? Whether it went your way or not, your college admission decision is not a reflection of who you are or who you are going to be. Many students view their accepted college choices as a form of personal recognition. Whoa! Hold it right there! Imma gonna be realsies witchya, bruh: it shouldn't be, and here's why.

You Got Lucky

Every year is dubbed a "record-breaking year for applications received" by highly selective colleges. They are sure to state this fact to you in the rejection letter as if to soften the blow a bit. You may have gotten in, but realize there were SO many other applicants who fit their numbers (GPA, test score averages) better, had just as many extra curriculars and leadership roles as you, but they did NOT get in. Many may have even had higher credentials than you, but still got denied. So what's up? What's up is that there was something in your application that moved you to the Accepted side of the fence. You'll never know what that was specifically. There are so many factors that go into college admission decisions. And, at the very end, despite the AI that was used to cull the initial incoming applications, the final decisions (if you made it that far) are still made by humans. Maybe they could relate to your essay, maybe the art teacher's recommendation letter brought them to tears, or maybe despite having a lower GPA than the average, you fit their institutional priorities for the incoming class better than another. The point is, you'll never know why they made the decision they did. So, don't congratulate yourself too much, and don't berate yourself either. If you got that far in the admissions cycle, it could have gone either way, fist-bumping your parents or crying into your pillow.

Starting From Ground Zero

Star athlete? Speech & debate champion? First-chair saxophonist? It doesn't matter how hotshot you were during your high school years, when you move on to college the slate is wiped clean. I'm not saying what you've devoted time to during those years didn't help set you up for getting into the college of your dreams, but when you step foot on campus in the Fall, you're starting from ground zero. Why? Because everyone who got in also had similar outstanding credentials. It's about not resting on your laurels. Do you know why colleges like the Ivies, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, etc. don't give merit-only-based scholarships? Because EVERYONE that got in is merited! When you turn the page to start your new chapter, know that what you're actually starting is a new book, blank-paged and just waiting for you to write it. What you did in high school will be diluted down amongst similar students who are your new classmates.

Brand Name Colleges May Not Be All That

There are no guarantees of success based on the college you attend. Sure, some colleges offer more opportunities to network, more opportunities to get involved in research at an undergraduate level, than other colleges. Yes, this is true. But, if you are not the type of person to take advantage of the opportunities before you, then going to a brand-name school won't really do a whole lot for your future career. You can't just watch the opportunities float by you; you've got to grab them, sometimes even make them happen for you. It's about the individual, not about the school's name or reputation or prestige. That will only get you so far. I know multi-millionaires who graduated from BGSU, but I also know just as many graduates from Cornell waiting tables. The future is truly in YOUR hands, not your future college's. But, if you are truly heartbroken about not getting into THAT college, you could always have another shot at it as a transfer student. (Upcoming blog post on transferring coming soon!)

Find Your Best-Fit and It'll All Work Out

It's the foundation of why College Driven operates: to find the best-fit colleges for each individual student so they may thrive in an environment best suited to support them and help them fulfill their definition of success. It's important to realize that no school will ever be perfect. It's also important to note that there isn't just one school that is best for you, there are several! When you don't get into the school you were hoping to attend, say thank you! It doesn't mean you've been rejected personally. It doesn't mean you couldn't handle the course load. It may mean you weren't going to fit in with the class they created for that year. These criteria change from year-to-year. Do you really want to be a part of an incoming freshmen class where you can't find your place, your group, your groove? No, of course not! You need a college where they want YOU! Where they see your potential and know that you'll fit in perfectly and are on your way to being an active member of their community, and they in turn want to be an active supporter of your future success. When you get that type of partnership, your success is limitless, no matter what it says on your college sweatshirt!

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