Advice to a College Reject.


Each year, I have one of my students not getting into any colleges.

Because of schools increasing reliance on a more holistic process, students find it more difficult to deem any school a “safety school.”

What do you tell an 18 year old full of promise that what they planned and dreamed for the last 18 years will all have to change?

What do you tell a student when their life plan has changed to something unfathomable for someone so young and full of dreams?

Here is a list of motivators and harsh truths about rejection that have shaped the brightest minds, that I have to pull out more and more this time of year during college acceptance time.

1.  Rejection makes us stronger. Whenever I meet someone I am in awe of either in a business or appropriate social situation, I will inevitably ask about their bottom. When did they feel their most acute failure? I have found that the almost certain response is, “Which time?” Strong people are almost always successful, and I have found it’s the old adage of, “It’s not how many times you are knocked down, but how many times you get up,” that creates purpose and strength.

2.  There is power in rejection. Learning to overcome adversity is a single determinant in my own personal success and the success of many other entrepreneurs. Many studies have indicated that grit, the ability to be tacky and tough throughout your academic journey—in other words, fearless in the face of rejection—allows more room for achievement in academics.

3.  There is creativity in rejection. Thomas Edison has said that, “I did not fail, I just found 10,000 ways that did not work.” Creativity is in the heart of rejection and vice versa. It was through rejection, my own disability and adversity that I decided to create a company that helped students learn to self-advocate in academia. Rejection teaches you how to think powerfully, how to relentlessly and passionately advocate for your own and others interest and become the best version of yourself.

4.  Rejection allows us to get in touch with what we really want. Too often in life we are on a predetermined path, rejection is a wake up call. It tells us it’s time to reevaluate and allows space for a long pause and reassessment to ask ourselves what we really want and best to achieve it.  Rejection allows the space for taking the road less traveled by, and according to Robert Frost and many entrepreneurs, that has made all the difference.

5.  Rejection teaches you about who you are and about how life works, quickly. Nothing teaches you more about life than rejection or adversity. If I were to name a single dominant theme in my life, it is learning to overcome adversity and being stronger, happier and more aligned with my life’s mission because of it. Rejection is life’s greatest teacher, allowing you to grow in the framework of life’s disappointments.

Inevitability the people who don’t get into any schools are the most kind-hearted, graceful and decent students on my client roster, which is why this is often my hardest talk of the year. I like to remind them that despite having a law degree and a master’s degree, I have almost never gotten my first choice in academia, and it has almost always ended up being a blessing that allowed me to be in the right place in the right time.

Being the lovely kind people they are, they gracefully and kindly handle their rejection, and I try to tell them all of the tools that this rejection will create for them. I would be far more devastated if I did not believe that this was preparing them for greatness and this early rejection is a precursor to the great many rejections that lead to a successful and meaningful life.



College: Now, Later or Not at All?


Author: Katie Schellenberg

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wikipedia


Facebook is in talks with major corporate media about pulling their content into FB, leaving other sites to wither or pay up if we want to connect with you, our readers. Want to stay connected before the curtain drops? Get our curated, quality newsletters below!

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Mary Davids Apr 3, 2015 11:40am

So many well meaning parents attempt to shield their children from any adversity. This often results in young children to young adults being shocked to learn they don't always get what they want Ultimately, every person must stand on his or her own. Small rejections for young children teach them how to respond to larger rejections throughout life. Thank you, Katie Schellenberg, for the wonderful article and for the service you are rendering via your business model.

Randy Apr 2, 2015 9:34pm

I too have struggled with a disability myself which has made school very challenging. It's so nice to hear words of encouragment and know that you can still be successful despite your many struggles. Thanks for brightening my day Katie Schellenberg.

Susan Apr 2, 2015 9:30pm

As a recent college graduate myself, it seems like yesterday I was dealing with the daunting stress of college applications and rejections. I wish this article was around four years ago. It would have provided me with a reassuring outlook on life and made me re-evaluate the way I view myself and self esteem. Very uplifting and encouraging, I would love to meet this intelligent author!

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Katie Schellenberg

Katie Schellenberg, a magna cum laude graduate herself, is the CEO and founder of BeyondTutoring.com, an educational concierge and academic advocacy approach that attempts to create and cultivate lifelong success through learning. Katie attended USC from her undergraduate degree, UCLA for her JD and USC, yet again, for her master’s in teaching. Katie is also a member of the California State Bar. She is passionate about learning and education; her background experience includes working with students with a wide range of disabilities, teaching a wide swath of subject matter and admissions consultations. Katie has also successfully and comprehensively advocated for students at all levels of education and tutored the under-served immigrant population to become United States citizens, among other endeavors. Her company’s commitment is to donate one hour of services and resources for every hour billed. You can also connect to Beyond Tutoring on Facebook and Twitter. You can also learn more at Learning Lab LA.