How Counselors and Parents can help Students handle Early Decision Rejection

High School Seniors that applied early decision will be receiving their acceptance or rejection letters over the next several weeks if they haven’t already. For those students that receive “fat envelopes” of acceptance, it will be a time of relief, excitement and joyful tears. But for the ones who get rejected or wait listed, it can be a very upsetting time. What can Counselors and Parents do to help those teens that didn’t get accepted to their college of choice early?

The first thing you can do is to remind teens that even excellent candidates get rejected and some schools may be looking to fill slots in other majors so it is totally out of their control and had nothing to do with their application.

Beware of Social Media: Within minutes of early decisions being announced, there will be tons of happy posts shouting “Class of 2020” on social media. Seeing who got in where can be tough for teens that have been rejected. As hard as it may be, encourage your student to congratulate peers that have gotten acceptance letters. Counsel them to resist the urge to gossip about why certain classmates did or did not get into their first choice schools. Remind your student not to text or post any negative comments about other students – even private messages can become public very quickly.

Keep the Focus on Your Student: Remember, the rejection happened to the teen. Many parents take the rejection personally. Parents need to separate their teen’s dreams and aspirations from their own.

College acceptances are not about parental bragging rights or bumper stickers. Keep the focus on the student. Parents should not vocalize their disappointment or make bitter comments about other students. Kids learn by example and this is a great opportunity for parents to model positivity and resilience.

Review Their Remaining Applications
: After a few days recovering, teens need to re-focus on the college application process. Most regular decision applications are due January 1 or January 15, and with admissions offices closed for winter break (and unavailable for questions), it is important to make sure everything is completed before then. Now over winter break is a great time to focus on this.

Review the remaining choices on your teen’s college list. Make sure the list contains realistic options. Check the college’s website or use a strategic college planning tool such as Naviance to see what grades, test scores, etc. prior accepted students have had.

The First Choice May Not Have Been The Best Choice
: After facing rejection, teens may experience self-doubt and worry they will never get into college. But with over 2,200 four-year institutions, there is a college for everyone.

This original article for parents can be found here: How Parents can help Students Handle Early Decision Rejection

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