Scout-ing Report

Scout-ing Report: Early Admissions Didn’t Work Out? What’s Next?


Most universities have recently released their decisions for students applying early decision or early action. A few students were happy, but many were probably disappointed. Early admissions rates skyrocketed this year as many students took advantage of the test-optional policy. This means that the pool was bigger and you had much more competition. Although it may feel like the end of the world, trust me, it’s not. But, just to make you feel better, let’s talk about what to do next. 

Step One: Take Time to Be Upset

Your first step towards going to your dream school didn’t go as you expected. It is completely normal to be upset. But this is just a bump in the road. College Decision Day isn’t for another five months. So much can happen between now and May 1, so keep your head up because this journey is far from over. 

The college admissions process can cause a lot of anxiety, and it’s good to take time to cope with this. Do what makes you feel better – spend time with people you love, do a hobby or activity you enjoy, eat lots of ice cream. Do not sacrifice your mental health for ANY school. Figure out what coping skills work best for you. I like to journal or call a friend. My kids like to go to the gym and burn off steam. You can listen to music, take a walk, meditate and relax, anything is an option. 

When dealing with difficult feelings, it is great to practice mindfulness. One popular acronym I like to recommend when practicing mindfulness is PEACE. 

Pause – take a moment to recognize how you are feeling. Are you anxious and stressed? Are you sad and disappointed? Are you angry?

Exhale – Take a deep breath. Let out the emotions if you need to. A good cry or scream can be monumentally helpful. 

Acknowledge/Accept/Allow – You don’t have to be happy about the decision you received, but take a minute to acknowledge it as well as your feelings. This will be helpful in planning your next steps. 

Choose – Choose how you will respond. Talk to your parents, your guidance counselor, your admissions rep, or your college consultant, and make a plan for what you want to do now. 

Engage – Follow through with your plan and keep working hard. As I already said, the college admissions journey still continues. 

Step Two: See the Bigger Picture 

You need to understand that early admission decisions are not personal. There are many factors that are taken into consideration, and none of them have to do with your worth. It is important to realize that you can only control your own actions. In this circumstance, all you could control was your application – essays, extracurriculars, grades, test scores, etc. You had no control over the applications submitted by other students nor what they did during their time in school. You cannot control any school’s institutional need, as every college is looking to make a diverse campus with students from various backgrounds with different talents and abilities. Institutional needs change every year based on what the current student population lacks or what the university wants to see improve. The preferences or moods of the committee making the decision also have an important impact. If the committee members are in a bad mood or have a specific affinity for students with certain extracurriculars, you may not be their first choice.. The decision is made on each student based on what the university needs and what the admissions committee looks for, so there was nothing wrong with your application or you as a person. 

Step Three: Consider Other Options

Students face this kind of disappointment every year, and every year they find a way to get through it. Many students have an idealized picture of a certain school or program and think it’s the only way they can be happy. But, the truth is, you only get out of college what you put into it. If you’re interested in a major or a research opportunity, there are plenty of universities that provide it. If you want to live in a certain area, there is almost certainly another school nearby. If you need any help, please feel free to contact me. I would love to help you find and fund your ideal college experience! Think hard – maybe make a list – of everything you want to get out of a college experience. Then start researching and finding options that work best for you. If you want to continue pursuing the school that deferred you, then that’s always an option. Getting deferred is not the same thing as getting denied. But, if you find something that works better for you and your needs, make a plan that will help you reach these new goals. So let’s keep in touch! Let’s work on boosting a resume, getting test scores up, touring more schools, or whatever else you need to do to find your ideal college experience. 

Hope to connect with you soon!

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