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Rejected from Your Top-Choice School? What to Do

Feb 20, 2013 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 1 Comments

It’s not unusual to be rejected from a few of the schools you attend. But if you’re rejected from the one you had your heart set on, that can be a big blow. Still—there are ways you can turn the situation around, if you’re willing to do what it takes. Here are a few tips for getting into your dream school—even after a rejection.

Don’t bother the admissions office

For most traditional and accredited online colleges, all decisions are final—and it may state that explicitly in your rejection letter. If that’s the case, don’t write a heartfelt letter or try to get the admissions office to reconsider your application. Chances are this will make more of a negative impression than a positive one.

Some schools do have appeals processes, but they’ll typically only consider your appeal if your school made a mistake in sending them your transcript or something like that—so it’s important only to follow this process if you do have a legitimate reason other than the fact that you feel it’s unfair. However, some schools outside the those with top rankings may reconsider you for a summer session if you didn’t get in for the fall—so it’s worth considering that as an option, if your school would be open to that appeal.

See Also: Top Ranked Online Schools

Consider going to a different school and transferring

It’s possible your GPA could improve wildly after you’ve put in one or two years at a different college—and colleges accept transfer students all the time. Consider attending a different school for a few years, work hard to boost your GPA and increase your extracurriculars, and then apply a second time. It’s possible your top school will consider you a stronger candidate the second time around.

Some schools are picky about which credits they accept as a transfer, however—so do your research to find out if this would be feasible at your top school. Ask admissions staff what their transfer policy is, their GPA requirements for transfers, what types of credits they accept, and from what types of schools.

Consider going to your top college for a Master’s degree

If you’re planning to get a postgraduate degree anyway, your ideal college could consider you a stronger candidate once you’ve earned your Bachelor’s somewhere else. Look into their postgraduate programs to see if they offer one that fits with your career goals; study hard and get great grades at school; and establish good relationships with some professors—so you can have good recommendations. The postgraduate program likely won’t even look at your high school GPA.

Take a break

Taking a break from college isn’t always the best idea. But it’s popular in Europe—and it’s becoming more and more common in the US. If you take this route, however, don’t just sit on your parents’ couch all day. Do something that will make you a stronger candidate in the eyes of your school. Volunteer overseas, start a nonprofit in your community, start a business, or get an interesting job. Do something interesting that will make you stand out and make the college take interest next year.

Not everyone gets into their top-choice school—in fact, it’s not unusual to be rejected, especially if you set your sights high. And if none of the above seem like doable options for you, it may be best to let that college go and move on. Accepting the decision may feel difficult and painful right now—but it’s possible the school that actually accepted your application winds up being the best fit for you after all.



Triz Innovation Over a year ago

Very nice and informative articles.

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