After all of the stress of application season and right as the celebration of acceptances starts, a denial can hit you like a jam-packed moving van full of dorm supplies. Your grief after being denied from your dream school will likely follow the pattern of any other form of grief. Look out for these signs in yourself or any close friends that might get that sickening, thin envelope of a denial from a dream school.
They can’t have denied you, you think as you clutch the letter that you know is too thin to be an admissions packet. You’ve done everything right. When you open the letter and read your denial in black and white, you still don’t process it fully. They must have made a mistake. They must have confused you with some other person of your same name. You must have accidentally sent in your freshman year haiku poems for English class instead of your application essay. You stare at the letter until it finally sinks in that the apparel your mom bought on your college visit will probably never see the light of their campus.
After all of the work on that essay, all those hours of studying and extracurriculars, all of that waiting by the mailbox for this letter, they still have the nerve to deny you? You fight against your urge to rip the letter to shreds. You look up the name of the dean of admissions just so you can curse them more personally. You send a spiteful application to their rival school. You text all your friends that the food on your visit sucked anyway and the dorms looked like prisons. If that school doesn’t want you, then you don’t want it.
Wait, you think. There must be something you can do about this. Get your grades up at a community college and transfer in the spring? Find someone who was admitted and bribe them into switching identities? Maybe if you just e-beg through email enough, they’ll let you in. Anything seems better than admitting to all your nosy relatives that your dream school has turned into a nightmare denial.
Can everyone just stop talking about their acceptances already? Suddenly all the talk of future roommates and majors and schools and, well, future anything bores you. Seeing your would-be school’s colors makes your stomach drop. All your application-boosting habits and activities tire you without the promise that they’d get you in to your dream school. You contemplate ignoring any other acceptance to any other school and taking a gap year to start a YouTube channel DIY macaroni necklaces. No college party scene can beat the pity party you now have for yourself 24/7.
Eventually, a new acceptance letter comes or you mope enough to finally move on and you realize not every school can accept every student. Just because they didn’t accept you doesn’t mean you’ll have a horrible college experience or end up homeless and destitute. New school mascots and colors start showing up in your new college dreams. You make new plans and get newly excited about the future. That school that denied you fades into the background of your newly chosen school that will become your new home.