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  • Rei Pham

Dealing with College Rejections

As college acceptances slowly become available in your student portals, so are college rejection letters. Personally, this is my least favorite time of the year when I was a senior in high school because of the immense pressure my Vietnamese parents placed on my academics. Having survived endless rejection letters from my top college choices, I have a few advice to help you handle the disappointments:

1. You’re not a bad person

Getting rejected from a college or even multiple colleges does not mean you’re not smart. There are many factors colleges use when reviewing applicants. They review your academics, volunterism, jobs, and even athletic involvement. They want to make sure they are admitting well-rounded individuals. Besides that, depending on the school, your major choice may also make a difference. Just like an elevator, colleges also have maximum capacity. Your rejection may just mean the college has reached its capacity and cannot accept any more students. Understand it may not be you, it could be issues the university is facing.

2. Appeal your rejection

If you really think your application deserves a second review, most colleges will give you the option to appeal their rejection. Once an appeal is filed, the school will take a second look at your application and you may have a chance at getting accepted. However, understand once the school has rejected your application, it is very unlikely they will appeal their decision.

3. Explore other options!

You may not be accepted into a college you had your heart set on, but remember if you got accepted into other colleges, focus on that! Start looking at your open options and decide what your next step will me. You can submit your SIR (Statement of Intent to Register) to a college you did get accepted to, or apply to a community college and make plans to transfer after two years.

Remember, a college decision letter can neither guarantee nor deny you success and happiness in life. Just because your dream institution did not accept your application, it does not mean you won’t be successful. Keep on grinding and know there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Good luck!

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Rei Pham


Rei is a Psychology student at the University of California, Merced. As a Vietnamese immigrant, she understands the challenge of balancing both Vietnamese and American cultures. She is passionate about equality for minorities and wants to introduce the world of possibilities for first generation Vietnamese-Americans. Rei hopes to inspire the youth by sharing her stories in obtaining higher education and the resources available for them to achieve their own success.

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