How to Handle/Respond to a College Rejection – What to say when Denied

One of the saddest moment could be receiving a rejection from a College or being denied by a college. But how you handle the rejection is another important approach.

If you get rejected or denied admission by a college, should you get frustrated, bothered and devastated? Should you give up, cry or appeal?

Well, here is a starting point for you. We shall advise you on few ways you can actually handle a College rejection and get the best out of it.

Note: this counseling is from the college admissions experts on and it’s a bit lengthy but very helpful. So read in-between lines.

How this Counseling Can Help You?

This is a very interesting and helpful counsel from one of the best college admissions experts on and the scope of this counseling is to educate you on:

  • Reasons for a college may rejection?
  • How you should handle a college rejection letter?
  • What to say to college rejection?
  • Should you accept rejection from college?
  • What to do if a college rejects you?

At the end of this article, you will find out that rejection can be turned into a better opportunity of entering the best college of your choice.

Reasons for College Rejections?

The reason for college rejection is not specific as different colleges have different reasons for rejecting a student, same as each rejected student has a reason why he or she is rejected.

But the big truth about college rejection is that it doesn’t specifically or sometimes signifies that you are not a good and perfect student for the college.


[Recommended: 5 reasons why College application get rejected]

Is it normal to get rejected from college?

College rejection is very normal in college admissions application processes and a lot of students have faced it often times.

What you should know is that you’re not alone in this situation and it shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve loosed the World.

Meanwhile, our team of counselors have made a good article on 4 reasons why Universities reject good Students here and why colleges may reject overqualified Students here.

Should You Accept Rejection from College?

Yes!!! You need to accept the rejection first to relax yourself and your mind and then think of possible steps to take next as shown in sections below.

How do you accept rejection from college?

This experience is always grievous but there’s no two ways about it as the college has made a decision that you have very little chances of altering.

Meanwhile, you have to accept the rejection knowing that;

  • It’s a normal college admission experience
  • They are many other students that have been rejected too
  • Good students also get rejected sometimes
  • It’s an opportunity to try out other good colleges
  • You have learnt some lessons and have gotten experience about the college admission process.

How to Handle a College Rejection Letter?

How do you handle a college rejection letter? Firstly, the rejection news will come with a lot of shock, disappointment, frustration and anger and so on. But play cool.

Of course, we know that no one will celebrate a rejection. But at this point, you need to behave professionally and avoid being too emotional about it.

Secondly, you don’t have to be accusatory, judgemental, sentimental or try to proof some points as to how qualified you were to be rejected.

Immediately you receive a rejection letter from a college, make sure you do the following.

What to do if a college Rejects you?

1. Consult Your Counselor:

Starting with your college counselor will be a great option. Inform your counselor about the rejection and schedule a meeting.

Your counselors should be an important consideration in your admission process as they’re the ones who sends some important parts of your application to the College.

Recommended: important roles of a counselor in college admissions.


Don’t you have a good counselor, or are you thinking of getting a new counselor? If yes, we have experts for you. Talk to one here.

2.  Write an Appeal:

Writing an appeal letter is one of the immediate actions that you should take when you’ve been rejected from a college.

Most college that sent rejection letter open usually open a chance for the rejected students to make their case.

When appealing your rejection letter, avoid being too emotional, avoid the use of hard words, accusatory, judgemental and sentimental statements.

Make sure you appeal is very appealing, precise and straight to the point and also do well to use polite tone and also show gratitude for the time spent by the officers to evaluate your application.

Our experts have made an article on how to write an excellent appeal letter here

Note: an appeal letter may mostly turn out to be a waste of time if;

  • It is poorly written.
  • The college does not give room for appealing

See our counselors guidance on how to write a good appeal letter that counts here

3. Re-apply for the Next Plan:

Let’s say you were rejected during the Early plans (Early action or Decision), you may choose to reapply to the same college during the Regular Decision.

[See Also: 8 ways to increase your chances while waiting for decision]

But you should only do this if the college is you dream college and you believe that you have identified and have taken care of the reasons you were rejected at first, then reapplying is a good option.

Meanwhile, our top-notch counselors have made an article on how to reapply to a college that rejected to and get accepted.

Note: this may not be a good option as Colleges keep the records of students that have been rejected, except you really believe you have taken care of the reasons for the first rejection.

4. Consider other Colleges:


While one College rejects you, many other colleges are looking for your type. Isn’t that some good news?

Check out: 5 things you should do before applying to any college

To start with, you have to look out for colleges that are still accepting applications and push in your application.

[See Also: Class of 2026 application dates and deadlines for all colleges]

What to say to College Rejection?

What do you say to college rejection?

Firstly, you have to start by appreciating the time the admissions committee spent to evaluate your application and the opportunity given to reach out to them once again.

After that, express yourself and your feelings towards the rejection (keep it short and don’t make it too emotional).

State your strength and how you were able to keep strong and why you choose to reach out to the college once again.


Appreciate and state some of the reasons you will love to be in the college. See our complete counselors guidelines on writing an excellent appeal letter here.

Final Words:

College rejection does not mostly means you are not a good student. A situation where so many students applied for a small class may result to a high rate of rejection or deferment.

So whenever a college rejects, make sure you find out the possible reasons for the rejection and work on them.

The only worrying aspect of rejection is when all the colleges you apply to reject you. Else, it’s a normal College admission experience that should not get you extremely worried.

0 0 votes
Please rate this page

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please drop comment.x