College campus tours are finished, applications are complete, essays are written, reviewed, rewritten, and polished. College lists are created and modified. Standardized test scores are submitted, transcripts are sent, and letters of recommendation have been requested.
And now you wait. As explained in an earlier post on the college application process, it is now multi-layered with many moving parts and can be very time-consuming. Many times, students are honestly just happy to have the task complete to turn their attention to their schoolwork and senior year activities. It is very common initially to not give any attention to the next event in the timeline. The next event in this timeline, of course, is receiving the college acceptance or rejection notifications.
As a college consultant who has been working in Florida for the past four years, I know preparing and planning for a possible rejection from your first-choice school is also a necessary step in this process. The two biggest state schools in Florida, UF and FSU, have both made US News & World Report’s list of 20 public schools with low acceptance rates. Both schools received over 60,000 applications last year which was over an 8% increase from the year prior which saw a similar jump from the year prior. With this increase in numbers, it obviously has become that much more competitive with the average 50% of students accepted demonstrating outstanding academic achievements:
|GPA: 4.3 – 4.6||GPA: 4.1- 4.5|
|SAT: 1330 – 1460||SAT: 1290 – 1410|
|ACT: 29 – 33||ACT: 29 – 32|
When working with a student, I look at the student’s application as a whole and the acceptance rates at the schools the student expresses interest in attending. I advise applying to a minimum of five schools: two safety, two target, and a reach. All acceptance rates are publicly published and easily attained. Students and parents should always look at those rates when starting the college application process to ensure realistic conversations. After watching such hard work for so many years, it can feel disheartening to see a student disappointed but as we all know, disappointments are a part of life, and not getting into the first-choice school is not the end of the world. The internet is loaded with success stories by people who were rejected from their first choice school. Huffington Post listed five reasons why the rejection may actually be a blessing in disguise.
Colleges are aware there are many more very qualified students applying these days than available spots, and many are creating alternative pathways to enrollment to combat this trend. FSU has created their Pathways Program, and UF has both the Innovation Academy as well as the PaCe Program. Similar programs are rolling out at colleges across the country.
When waiting for college acceptance and rejection notifications to arrive, everyone hopes for that “fat envelope” which is now computer screen confetti, but obviously, everyone is not going to receive it. Parents and guardians can help prepare students by monitoring their own emotions and expectations. When students receive disappointing news, it is important they have the ability to put it in perspective. The focus should continue to be a celebration of all they’ve accomplished thus far and excitement over this next big life milestone.