If you’re a college bound high school senior, chances are you’ve already received or, are about to receive at least one rejection letter from a college or university.
Before you start crying and feeling bad about yourself, please note that these letters oftentimes are not a reflection of your qualities as a person or as a student. Rejection letters are received by even the best of students for a variety of reasons.
Here are a few reasons why you may have received a rejection letter from a college or university and some tips on what to do next.
The 7-11 Factor
Does the college you applied to have famous alumni, an awesome football team international students? If so, these may be some of the reasons they did not accept your application for admission.
In general, Ivy League universities and other high level institutions often reserve admission spots for the children or relatives of famous alumni or donors with deep pockets. They also offer some top notch students the ability to apply through the early admission program. Often, these schools also have sports teams and so they reserve spots for incoming athletes as well as for cheerleaders. Once these groups have been factored in, only about 15-20 percent of the total admission seats remain open.
These colleges often offer athletes big scholarships and so they offset that money by admitting international students and others who must pay full price for tuition.
By this point, only 7-11 percent of the total admission seats remain. All applicants that don’t have special connections to the institution will have to compete for these very few remaining seats.
In some instances, the sheer numbers overwhelm the admissions staff. Every institution only has so many seats they can offer for admission in a given year. If the institution is well known and respected, chances are there will be dozens of applicants per seat. If this is the case, the college may simply have run out of seats before they were able to even review your application. This is why it’s so important to apply to colleges as early as possible.
Diversity is a big thing for many colleges. They want to show that a nice cross section of the community is represented within their student body. In order to do that, they will limit how many students they will accept from any given zip code. In Illinois, many of the suburbs with the best performing students only have one zip code. Some of the best and brightest have to compete against each other based on where they live. Students from Chicago and other locales that have more than one zip code then, have a better chance of being accepted to these institutions.
Similarly, colleges may have quotas based on age, religion, race or other factor. When this occurs, students who don’t meet these specific factors may find it more difficult to be accepted to these institutions.
If you weren’t accepted to a college you applied to, don’t despair, there might be some hope for you yet. In some cases, the rejection letter may address the reasons why you weren’t accepted. Work on changing the issues that affected your admission status and apply again for the next enrollment period. If a reason is not listed, contact the admission officer that rejected your application and politely ask for an explanation and for a second chance. In the instance that someone else who was accepted opts to attend a different college, you may be given the opportunity to fill that now empty seat instead.
Hopefully, you applied to several colleges and at least one of the others did offer you the chance to enroll. However, if this did not occur, you can always attend a community college during your first year of college and then you can re-apply.
Don’t ever take a college rejection letter personally. Admission officers look for a certain kind of character to admit. Chances are, the admissions officer did not feel you would be a good fit at that specific institution. Do more research on that college and you may later find that the admission officer in reality did you a favor by steering you from a place that would’ve required you to be someone or something that you’re really not.