What to Do If You Don't Get Admission in Your Dream University?


Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Oct 12, 2022 06:57 PM IST

Students who do not get admission to the universities of their choice, feel extremely demotivated. Having said that, there are ways to cope with college rejections which have been discussed here.

What to Do If You Don't Get Admission in Your Dream University?

What should I do in case I do not get admission to any university of my choice? This is a nightmarish question that haunts most university applicants and perhaps you are also one of them. Sometimes, the situation is not limited to our thoughts and turns into reality. It might happen that you do not get accepted by the universities to which you had applied and this rejection may start taking a toll on your mental health and the world may seem to be crashing in front of you.

However, you should remember that every dark cloud has a silver lining. Even if your offer letters are rejected, there are still other options left to try. The crux is to get up and move on. In this article, we will walk you through the reasons which made you face the rejection letter and how can you deal with it from the psychological aspect as well as the practical steps you can take to complete your degree. We will also share the mistakes to avoid for newbies who are yet to start the college application process.

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Reasons for Not Getting Admission to University of Your Choice

Getting rejected by the university of your choice does not mean it is the end of the world. It is nothing personal and does not make you good for nothing. There are several factors which are not personal, that influence universitys decisions. Top universities and colleges abroad reject every year, multiple talented and qualified students.

Many schools are extremely competitive with stellar candidates as their acceptance rate is too low and they are unable to accommodate every student who applies with them. Having good grades and a perfect balance of education and co-curricular activities can be helpful but always it does not guarantee admission. Here are a few reasons that can lead to the rejection of your application letter:

Applicants Not Meeting Academic Criteria of University

The courses taken by you in high school and the grades received in them are indicators of your possible performance in college. Though most admission officers consider other aspects of the application process, still academic grades are important for them as it is the way they ensure that you have strong foundations that will enable you to pursue the course of your choice with them. It is important for you to have good grades to be not rejected by the university.

The Application is Not Complete

Whenever you are submitting your application it should be scrutiny that you submit every necessary detail. Often students forget to send one or the other document for application and this delays the entire process. It is necessary to send test scores, academic resumes and letters of recommendation (LORs) properly so that precious time is not wasted.

Demand and Supply Mismatch

There is always a gap between the demand for seats and the number of seats. Often top universities get applications from budding talented students but they, unfortunately, cannot accept each one of them. Applicants who can articulate their potential, future goals and interests in an organised way are more likely to be accepted.

If the School is Not the Right Fit for You

Often there is a discrepancy between students desires and the environment and experience the school has to offer. As college admission officers want to meet both ends, they want students to understand the mission and values of the place they will be studying in. It is important to align your values with that of the university in the essay through proper research about the institution where you are applying.

There are Multiple Errors

Though minor errors are overlooked by admission officers, the major ones and typos are not accepted. Mistakes indicate that you were not serious about applying to the institution or you do not have sufficient expertise in writing skills to shine in college. In such cases, the application is cancelled.

Behavioural Problems

Often students with problematic behaviours are not accepted by schools. Those who have a history of suspensions and other issues in this regard are not seen in a favourable light. But it is not always the reason for rejection if the cause for suspension and negative behaviour are well justified. A student being suspended for possessing a cell phone is less likely to be rejected than a student suspended for vandalising the school.

How to Deal With College Rejection Letters?

After spending countless hours drafting the perfect essays and revising all the documents multiple times to get into your dream university, you might be confident of getting the opportunity to study with them. But alas! Things do not turn as rosy as they seem to be. Instead of being accepted, you receive the rejection letter to your utmost shock.

Despite the fact that your top school of choice may have rejected you, keep in mind that there are (ideally) a number of other schools you have either already applied to or are currently applying to. Regardless of whether you have heard back from them, these are the schools you should be enthusiastic about. You sent applications to all of the schools for a reason.

Focus on the unique qualities and possibilities you loved about each of the schools you were accepted to when you reviewed them. What, for instance, made you submit an application there? Can you picture yourself settling comfortably on campus? Which majors and classes does it offer? How about that fantastic football team?

If you can, speak with current students at the institutions so you can begin to see yourself studying there. In addition to getting you enthused about your alternative options, doing this will stop you from daydreaming about what might have happened if you had been accepted to your top pick. Finally, keep in mind that you probably will be able to pursue your academic interests at these other institutions as well.

Yes, the scenario described above is true for many but it should not put a negative impact on your zeal to learn and persevere. Here are some steps to deal with college rejection letters:

  • Take time to process the fact that you have got rejected. Share your disappointment with your close friends and family.

  • Do not consider the rejections as the end of your education life. It should not be looked at as a defeat. You may find your peers being accepted to popular colleges but that should not lead to a self-blame game.

  • Also, you should not blame others like your parents, counsellors or people whose help you have taken, for these rejections. Remember that these people will help you again in future.

  • Get up and look for choices. There are zillions of options available even if you do not get admission to the university of your choice. They include taking a gap year, looking out for community colleges, applying to other schools that are still accepting admissions or finding a job. We will discuss all these options in detail for you to consider in the latter part of this article.

How to Avoid College Rejection?

As college rejections are dreaded by all, there are ways to ensure that you do not get rejected by colleges. It is not only about your academic performance but also a well-rounded application process. The modern landscape of university admission can be very challenging and to carve a niche you will have to follow the tips given below to make a strong application:

  • Keep High GPAs: It is necessary to have high-Grade Point Average (GPA) throughout your academic career to proving that you are studious and consistent in your performance. By getting excellent grades across disciplines, you can convince of your commitment and perseverance toward learning and academia. Take an idea of the GPA requirement or the average GPA of previous classes from the university website to set your target GPA score.

  • Take Challenging Courses: It is easy to get a good GPA with easy courses but to show you are up for challenges and can tackle difficulties, take up courses that are slightly on the harder side. In this way, you can challenge yourself to grow as well as convince admission officers that you are not a safe player.

  • Get High Standardised Test Scores: We cannot stress enough the importance of standardised test exams to study abroad like the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT and others. Though many universities have gone test optional and are offering waivers, still standardised scores can set you apart and increase your chances. A good standardised score will vary according to the college you are applying to so do not forget to check them out before applying.

  • Invest in Activities and Hobbies: Having a well-rounded application can be good but it is not what makes you unique. There are thousands of candidates who have similar characteristics. The things that will make you unique are in investing in hobbies that are worthy of attention. You may publish an e-book, write blogs, make documentaries, conduct science experiments, take classes related to your passion, visit events and conferences, participate in talks or teach students to have an impact on admission officers. Your extracurricular activities should be a strong advocate of your application.

  • Write an Eye-Catching Personal Statement: An impactful statement of purpose (SOP)or personal statement has numerous benefits. Not only does it provide clarity about your personality and ambitions but also attests to your suitability for the university. Write error-free, intriguing and grammatically correct personal statements while adhering to the word limit and questions asked.

  • Apply for Early Action/Early Decision: If your chosen university offers early action or early decision, it is wise to go for it as there is a high possibility of getting accepted during this period. It does not guarantee acceptance still it can give an edge over other candidates.

What to Do if No College Accepts You?

It is imperative to know the backup options if you do not get admitted to the university of your choice. You may be left with lesser choices but there are several ways to fulfil your college dreams. So, without wasting time on cribbing for what you have not got, it is wise to look for other viable options. Some of the actions which you can take if no college accepts you are given below:

Appeal to Colleges

You might have a gut feeling that the admission committee has made a mistake by rejecting your application. However, there should be some solid ground to appeal for the reconsideration of the application. If you find that there has been any clerical error in your grades or test scores or another aspect of admission, then you can request the university to go revisit your application. In most cases, factual errors are only considered. You will have to write a formal letter under such circumstances.

Try for Other Schools that are Still Accepting Applications

Some schools have admissions on a rolling basis or their application process is still open. Choose universities that are less popular but can provide the course you wish to study. Concentrate on getting admission to colleges with high acceptance rates. Do thorough research on such universities, find out what best suits you and complete the admission procedure.

Consider Taking a Gap Year

If you feel that you need to take a break from the stress of college admission and engage in some other activities then you can take a gap year. You can start afresh in the next admission cycle and the meantime, you can invest in activities that can make your application strong.

A gap year must not be considered a vacation but a time to be utilised wisely. You can work during this period and gain experience. Or you can engage in internships, volunteering experiences or engage in personal growth projects. After this, you can make a solid plan to reapply next year. You can justify your gap through a gap year essay.

Joining a Community College

You can apply to community colleges as most of them have rolling admissions. Courses at community colleges help to make the foundation strong. After completing a year or more you can join a four-year university as a transfer student. Community colleges are also less expensive.

If your grades were weaker in high school then community colleges give you a scope to better your performance. You can enrol in community colleges that guarantee transfer to four-year universities. Utilise the time here for presenting yourself as a competitive candidate.

Attending Trade Schools

If traditional schools do not choose you, you can seek schooling at trade schools where you can learn different trades and develop a particular skill or hobby that you have. There is a need for apprentices for all types of work and trade schools provide hands-on experiences.

How Selective is the University of Your Choice?

As you have understood now that the competitiveness of your university plays an important role in getting accepted or rejected, you should know the acceptance rate of the universities of your choice. Here are some of the top universities to study abroad along with their acceptance rate:


Acceptance Rate

Harvard University


Oxford University


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Coventry University


Greenwich University


University of New Haven


University of California


Birmingham University


Monash University


University of Canada West


San Jose State University, California


Manchester University


Glasgow University


Kingston University


Leeds University


There are myriad factors that contribute to a successful college application and if you are rejected by a few does not lessen your worth. You should continue your quest for education by whatever means possible. A college rejection is not certainly a negative experience but it can open multiple doors for future life.

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Find Out What Mistakes to Avoid During College Application!


How to react if I do not get admission to a university of my choice?

Though you may at first feel devastated if you do not get admission to a university of your choice, you should not let that negatively impact you. You should not brood on failures but seek opportunities and options where your talent will be considered and appreciated. Once you have regained yourself, check out various other colleges where you can apply.

Is there any way of still getting to college if the college rejects you by the regular date?

No, you cannot get into a college if the college rejects you by the regular date. If they wanted to consider you, they would have deferred you or put you on the waiting list.If you are rejected outright, it means your application does not interest them.

Can you ask a college to reconsider if you do not get admission to any university of my choice?

Yes, you can ask a college to reconsider if you do not get admission to any university of your choice. But this appeal can be only made if you have some solid evidence of your competence or if any mistake has been made in your application. If everything is alright and still you are appealing, you will not be considered.

Can I ask a college why I was rejected?

Yes, you can ask the admission officers of the college why you were rejected. The exercise can prove futile as in most cases, you will get a generic reply or no reply at all. Instead, they can ask how could they have bettered their application process to be considered for an offer letter.

Is it better to be waitlisted or rejected?

Yes, being waitlisted for a college is definitely better than being rejected. It can mean that you still have chances to get into the college of your choice. The chances of getting selected vary from college to college but the acceptance rate can be anywhere between 1% to 15%.

How many times can you reapply to a college if you do not get admission on the first chance?

You can reapply to a college atleast twice if you do not get admission on the first chance. If you have first applied for Fall intake, you can again apply in the winter or summer intake. But you should never send the same application again and hope to be accepted. You should restart the application process and try to make it strong within the time frame you get.

Why do colleges reject students?

There are many reasons for colleges to reject students the foremost being an incomplete or hackneyed application process. The admission officers might not be convinced of the suitability of candidates for their institutions if any component of the application does not match the university standards.

Can I join as a transfer student next time to the university of my choice?

Yes, you may join as a transfer student next time to the university of your choice. But you should remember that in such cases the admission criteria will change. The standardised scores will not have much weightage instead admission committee will look for your performance in undergraduate courses.

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