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  • Writer's pictureAttentive Psychotherapy & Counseling Center

College Applications

Stress, Decision-Making, and the Dreaded Rejection Letter

Ah, the college application process. Whether you're applying to your dream school, or taking a stab at somewhere local--The whole thing can be stressful and nerve-racking.

There's no doubt you've been churning through questions in your head, and you've probably had some tough conversations with your parents, too. It's normal to feel overwhelmed about it all. This blog post will help you manage the process, manage your expectations, and manage your emotions.


It's the first step, but it can often feel like the hardest. It can be intimidating to think about the mountain of forms and essays you'll need to fill out--not to mention keeping track of all the deadlines.

There's no shame in seeking assistance from your school librarian or school counselor, if your school has one. Your town's local library may also offer college prep classes and writing assistance for free! Grab a calendar to keep track of important dates, and consider making a day of it by taking yourself out to a coffee shop while you write your essay. You can even recruit friends to join you. Sometimes working in the presence of others can make the process more bearable (as long as it's not a distraction).

Decisions, Decisions

There's a lot to consider when it comes to applying and eventually choosing a school: finances, social life, academic or extracurricular goals, location--You name it.

Think about what matters most to you. Chat with your friends, write in a journal--What do you want to get out of your college experience?

Navigating the choices will involve a lot of in-depth conversations with your parents. There are sure to be strong emotions that come up for all parties involved.

When you do sit down to talk with your parents about your options, it can help to do it in small doses over time. If the discussion gets heated, take some time to separate and process independently before reconvening.


We know it stings. If you get a rejection letter, it's important to remember not to compare yourself to your peers. The truth is, no matter how many letters of acceptance you receive, there will always be someone who receives more--And you're by no means the only person to get a rejection letter.

Plenty of people get rejected from great schools every year, and it doesn't mean their life is over. It just means that the school wasn't the right fit for them and moving on is the best way forward.

Take heart--Your future isn't ruined because you didn't get into your dream school. College is a defining phase of your life as a young adult. But, it's all about the process.

The college experience is inherently unpredictable. You never know what those four years will have in store for you. Even if you end up going to the school you've been dreaming of since you were ten, we can guarantee that your experience will still be ripe with the unexpected. Part of the beauty of this time in your life is learning to ride the waves of the unknown. Welcome to adulthood!

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