If you have good news and bad news to share with someone, science says that you should deliver the bad news first. Why? Four out of five humans prefer endings that rise rather than deflate.
Dan Pink explains more in this (very short) video.
And for families awaiting college decisions, remember that every piece of bad news is inevitably followed by good news, both in the short term (another college will almost certainly say yes) and the long term (you’ll end up at a college to call your own).