I had more than one student call me recently crying about the rejection he or she had received. Usually, though not always, these decisions are the right call: maybe the school recognizes that they are not a good fit for the student, or that the student isn’t up to their level of rigor.
I see the denials from schools somewhat differently than my students, and that’s to be expected, given the perspective that comes with age. Instead of making students feel completely rejected, getting bad news can help students reflect and learn to adjust their expectations.
Rather than focus on the negative, with some coaching the student can learn to see the benefits that may come out of such a situation: a better school fit, increased resilience, being open to new experiences that aren’t tied to a vision of the future. These benefits should not be underestimated; they far outweigh the negatives that come with the dreaded news that a student was denied from a first choice school.
So once the tears pass, it is our job—both consultants and parents—to help our students see the silver lining in such a rejection. It won’t be the first time in life that dreams are dashed, but we can teach our kids to replace those dreams with other ones that may more achievable, and even better.