What to do when college admissions don't go your way

You've probably been prepping for this moment your whole life. You've stalked college reports, taken a bunch of hard classes and binge watched acceptance videos on YouTube. You probably imagined yourself as the kid who gets a clean sweep and has the best college admissions season ever.

Then comes senior year, and it actually becomes real. You become the kid sending out college applications. And when they come back, you don't always get the response you hoped you would. Maybe you got rejected from your dream school. Maybe you regret not applying to a certain school. Maybe you're freaking out about the idea of going to college in just a few months. Whatever it is, this is a scary time in your life. Here are some ways to get through it.

Remind yourself that college isn't the end all, be all (seriously, it's not)


If other people have made you feel like the college you get into determines the course of your life, don't fall for it. Obviously, a good school can help you become successful. But there are plenty of people who graduated from big-name schools and never ended up making it. On the other hand, there are people who didn't go to college at all but found something they were passionate about and became hugely successful with it.

What matters more than the name of the college on your resume is your personal character. Are you hard-working? Are you ambitious? Are you bright? That will shine through no matter which school you end up at. Trust, a 4.0 from a community college looks wayyy better on a job application than flunking out of Harvard.

Take charge of what you can control (because there's so much you can't)


Once you submit an application to a college, you have zero control of what happens to it. You can't force an admissions officer to connect with your essay or be impressed by your extracurriculars. What you *can* do is 1) make sure you finish out the rest of the school year strong, 2) stay in touch with the admissions office in case you can appeal rejections and 3) enjoy the time you have left in high school.

In 20 years, you won't look back and think "Ugh, I really wish I stressed out more during my last months of high school!" But if you *do* stress this time away, you'll regret not living in the moment. So go prom dress shopping, get your yearbook signed and throw that cap in the air on graduation night.

Know that it's OK to change your mind (we all do!)


Maybe you're on the verge of committing to a school and get cold feet all of a sudden. What if you don't like the school? What if you get homesick? What if you don't fit in there?

Luckily, a college choice doesn't have to be final. If you really hate it somewhere, you can always transfer to another school. There's no need to stress out over a decision that doesn't even have to be permanent. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't bother trying to adapt to your new environment. Go into your first year of college with a totally open mind. This is supposed to be your exploration era, where you learn to adjust to being an adult. Try your best wherever you end up—but if it doesn't work out, you can always go somewhere else.

For more pre-college tips, follow us on Instagram @girlslifemag!

Top image: @ucla
Slider image: @uscedu


by Hana Tilksew | 4/17/2024