stressed out student getting ready for college surrounded by a pile of books

How to Deal with Being Rejected from Every College you Applied to

College acceptance season is one of the most stressful times in a high schooler’s life. It can be really disheartening to get rejected from every college too, but it doesn’t have to define you as a person and what kind of career path you would like to take!

I remember when I was a senior and college acceptance season came around. It felt like everyone else’s life had fallen into place, but mine hadn’t yet. There were so many things to think about – where would you go? Who will be your roommate? What if all the people that matter are at schools on opposite coasts of the country from each other?

And guess what? I didn’t think of those things. In fact, I didn’t apply to college. I graduated from high school with a 2.8 GPA, had over 100 absences, no extracurriculars, and hated school with a burning passion. I didn’t even take the SAT. 

The best part?

I graduated with my bachelors from UCLA, took a gap year after high school, worked, learned about myself and went to community college. From my experiences, I can honestly say sincerely that the things that I learned during that time were some of the best life lessons I could’ve gotten. 

I understand you’re feeling very sad right now for being rejected from every college. But I guarantee you that everything happens for a reason. What is meant for you will fall on your lap. 

Everyone’s path is different

You should never compare your path to the person next to you. You are a unique individual who is on an entirely unique journey than anyone else in this world, and that’s what makes you so special!

You’re not just any ordinary person on the street. We were put here by some divine force or universal energy for something specific: to make our own way through life as best we can while making it better along the way if possible; fulfilling whatever destiny awaits us at its end point – whether glorious or humble is completely up to fate, but there will always be more lessons learned because every day has new potential waiting around each corner of your life. 

Things you can do if you get rejected from every college you applied too:

You’re allowed to feel sad at first

The feeling of rejection is one that can be very hard to deal with. It’s ok if you feel sad, but don’t let it consume you or change your mindset about yourself.

The idea behind being rejected from every college you applied to may seem daunting at first glance; however, there are many reasons why this could happen and they’re all understandable as long as you keep your heads up high no matter what happens in life.

In fact, according to research, Top Universities see 30%+ Drop in Admissions Rates in 2021, elite colleges rejected college seniors more than ever before. It’s just another obstacle that you were faced with and honestly, you’re not alone.

Go to Community College

Community colleges are a great option if you were rejected from every college that you applied to. They have smaller class sizes so professors can pay more attention and help students succeed with their studies.

Community colleges also tend to be cheaper than four-year schools. That means it’s possible for some people who might otherwise not go to college at all to get the opportunity.

They have great resources available for you and have great programs to transfer to a 4 year university. Community College is also great in terms of flexibility for you to research more professional opportunities as well. 

I wrote an entire guide on how I transferred from community college to UCLA here.

Go to a Trade School

If you’re still determined to go through with getting an education and want some career guidance as well, as trade school is perfect! Trade schools offer students various hands-on courses which differ from traditional degree programs at four-year universities.

Even if it’s something you end up not pursuing in the future, you’re still earning a valuable skill that you will always have. 

Knowledge is power, and it’s up to you if you choose to use that knowledge.

The world needs people who will learn new things because even though not everything sticks with us right away, we might just need some of those skills someday – maybe for our job or as part of an emergency. 

Get a Job

You can always get a job to experience the working world and make some money before reapplying for school again in the future! You can either save that money or use it to pursue further interests. There is no better opportunity than now to put away small amounts, so you can take care of yourself later. 

I worked at Jamba Juice after high school. Although it was one of the toughest jobs I had, it taught me a lot. I learned that I never wanted to work in food service again (and I mean ever again). I also learned to be more empathetic towards customer service workers, whether it’s retail/food service or anything in between. 

Volunteer at places you’re interested in

Volunteering for a cause you care about is an easy way to feel better when you’re feeling down. You’ll be contributing your time and energy towards something that matters, which will make the world just a little brighter on days where it seems like everything has gone wrong.

There are tons of causes out there in need of volunteers and each person can do their part by spending some hours providing support. It’s important not to neglect yourself or wallow too much during this hard process – sometimes all we need is one simple act to remind us how loved we really are!

Take a gap year

Taking a gap year has been shown to be beneficial for many students in the past (including myself). It provides an opportunity to gain valuable life experience and explore what career you might want. 

You’ll get some much needed space from the life you’re living. This will give you lots of opportunities: hang out with old pals; explore new hobbies and make new memories. 

Travel

Being on the road after graduating is like a new adventure. I always tell people that they should leave their hometown for a little while–even if it’s just for a week. 

The feeling of being completely free brings about such an amazing energy that you can feel as soon as you step out your front door into totally unfamiliar territory. It reminds you of the endless possibilities.

Traveling has been incredible for my personal growth and development. If you’ve never had the experience of living away from home before, then it’s worth giving it a try because you’ll grow so much in ways that will shape who you become.

Bottom Line 

It’s not the end of the world. I promise. A couple of years from now, you’ll realize how much growth you did from this happening.

 If college is still something you want to pursue, they may accept you into a school that is more perfect for you (like it happened to me!).


That opportunity just hasn’t come yet. Now take some time to reflect and go out there and kill it when you are ready! I believe in you!

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