Helping Your Child Cope with College Rejection

As a private college counselor and the parent of five children, I know all about college rejection.  I have had that tearful phone call from a student, seen that shattered look, and consoled a six foot teenager by assuring him, “It will be all right.”

Dealing with college rejection isn’t easy for anyone, parents and students alike. Rejection hurts.  Here are a few tips to help parents handle those college rejection letters.

1. Let students express their emotions and listen to them, but remember it is their rejection, not yours nor “ours.”  You are the one who needs to keep things in perspective.

2. Take your cue from your child’s response.  He or she may be angry, upset, and even lash out at you.  Be understanding and extra sensitive and don’t over react.

3. Admissions decisions should not be taken personally.  Help your child understand that college decisions are often subjective and for reasons over which they have no control:  legacy, geography, special talents, etc.

4. Provide some time and space.  Students need to process what has happened and what their next move should be.  Give them that opportunity and don’t force them into taking the next step until they are ready.

5. There will be other acceptances and some may even be better options.  Consider a college visit to see how the other schools compare. Be open to opportunities and keep in mind that there are many colleges where your child can have a happy and successful experience.  Tell your student, “It will be all right,” and it will.

 

 

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