With the college application process all but over, many high school seniors now face the inevitable fear of getting a thin envelope containing a rejection from their dream school.
Dr. Aaron Krasner, adolescent transitional living service chief at Silver Hill Hospital, said while the rejection from their desired school will hurt, parents can help by helping put in it perspective.
“High school juniors and seniors have college on the brain and many kids are emotionally, socially and intellectually prepared for what happens but some are not,” Krasner said. “The difficulties around applying to and being accepted to college can bring a lot of family issues and individual issues for the kid to the forefront.”
Krasner said the negative letters offer a silver lining and opportunity for parents and teenage students nearing adulthood to grapple with important issues.
“Do not let the college rejection letter go to waste — it is a strange blessing,” Krasner said. “It can help calibrate and focus the educational hopes and aspirations of kids and parents, it can help kids and parents get on the same page about college, and it can be a catalyst for the beginning of a new perhaps more reality based communication style between parents and kids.”
Krasner said parents can help children move past the disappointment by offering them some positive advice:
Don’t take it personally: College admissions are very competitive, but students should not consider a rejection to be a judgment on their value as a person or student. Remind students that admission officials use many criteria when accepting some students and rejecting others to achieve their view of the right balance of different types of people.
Discuss why they shouldn’t be embarrassed: In college applications as in their dealings with other, some rejection is inevitable. Emphasize how rejection is the outcome of pursuing goals —a very healthy thing to do.
Focus on the positive: Do things to help your child get excited about the schools they did get into and move on from the disappointment. Try to offer examples from your own life when things didn’t go as planned, but the overall result was positive.