What to Do If You Get Rejected from Your Early Decision School

Getting rejected from your Early Decision school can be heartbreaking. You’re 17 or 18 years-old. This is probably the first big rejection of your life and even if it’s not, it’s the first time you’ve been rejected by something so recognizable in society. Losing your student government race can be crushing, too, but getting rejected from a place you’ve heard of since you were a little kid can be rougher and you know what? It’s okay to be heartbroken.

The Hunger Games      

That said, don’t take it too far. When she was in high school, one of our writers applied Early Decision to Vanderbilt. Everyone, including her college counselors, thought she was a shoo-in.  She was student body president, a four-time recipient of the President’s Award for Community Service, and the only kid on the board of directors of a non-profit.  When she didn’t get in she was blindsided. She actually didn’t go to school the next day, wore sunglasses in the halls for an entire week, and carried on like this until her dad grabbed her by the shoulders and told her to get a hold of herself. Mourn the loss and then get going very quickly so you can do what it takes to finish those Regular Decision applications.


Last year, we only had one kid get rejected from an Early Decision school. Mila really wanted to go to Wellesley. She was introverted, enjoyed small classes, and liked the idea of attending a women’s college. Her mother, however, had never heard of Wellesley (she’s not originally from the States) and wanted Mila to go to NYU. Being the mother, she ultimately won out and Mila convinced herself that NYU was a great fit after all. NYU wasn’t right for Mila—deep down, her heart wasn’t in the application and NYU could tell. When she got rejected, she called us, and though she was initially upset, she was also somewhat relieved. We helped her through the Regular Decision process and ultimately, she ended up at Wellesley.

Silver Linings Playbook

Getting rejected can feel really unfair, but in truth, it tends to make sense. Students often measure their self-worth by college acceptances, when in truth, one has nothing to do with the other. It’s all about the right fit. If Jennifer Lawrence thought it was more prestigious to try and sing like Beyoncé than act, she may never have become the Oscar winner she is today. Choosing a school is all about the right fit.

Remember our writer? We mentioned all of her extra-curricular accomplishments, but what we didn’t say is that her essays weren’t as good as they could have been (TKG didn’t exist yet) and her test scores were good, but not tremendous. Vanderbilt was not the best place for her, but Tulane (a school she never even thought to consider until she got rejected) was a great fit. During college, she met her best friends, worked at a news station while she was in school, became really active in the local community, and ultimately went off to the Columbia School of Journalism. Just like Mila, none of that would have happened had she gotten in the first time. If you get rejected, consider that it’s probably the silver lining of your life in some way, too. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your best friends, or the love of your life, or discover a career path that you love even more.

Feeling a little bit lost after your Early Decision rejection? Contact us. We can help you come up with a plan that’s right for you.