Do the right thing

One of the worst things a student can do when a college denial arrives is to minimize the accomplishment for those students who were accepted.

He only got in because his dad went there.

My ACT score was much higher than hers.

It’s because he applied as a botany major. I heard it’s much easier.

This is the wrong response for a few reasons.

You don’t know why someone was admitted or why you weren’t. Especially at the more selective schools that receive far more applications from qualified applicants than they can admit, admissions decisions are complex. They almost never boil down to something that’s easy to distinguish, especially for someone who wasn’t in the room when the decision was made.

And while I understand how unfair this can feel, I promise you that fixating on and griping about someone else’s admission will not make you feel better. In fact, it will almost certainly make you feel worse. Negativity just breeds more negativity.

So what should you do?

First, accept it. You can’t un-admit someone else and put yourself in their spot. The faster you come to terms with that truth, the more quickly you’ll be able to move on and fall in love with a college that said yes to you.

And second, offer your sincere congratulations. It takes a big person to do this. But if you can do it, it will speed your healing from the sting of denial. And you’ll feel good about yourself. A gesture like this is all about personal confidence. You’ll either be building it or demonstrating its presence. And either way, you emerge better for having done it.

It’s OK to be disappointed if that’s how you feel. But anger and resentment will only keep you feeling that way. Positivity and generosity will bring you back.

The decision may feel wrong. But you can still do what’s right.