Rejection Protocol

<p>Now, I'm sure we're all terrified about being rejected ourselves. But as the first letters have started to trickle in, I have found myself faring slightly better than my friends. An important question arises. How does one best handle one's friends' rejections? Does anyone have any brilliant suggestions for how to be properly angry and consoling, expectant and surprised? I lose my mind a little bit each time, I fear, too busy being angry at the colleges for not seeing the person on paper I see in real life to properly engage my own sympathy and comfort them.</p>

<p>...And here I am, appropriately seeking formulas even for human interaction on a college admissions forum.</p>

<p>For me, it's pretty simple: don't discuss where you got in. Only discuss the college you will be attending. </p>

<p>Of course, for you it's not so simple. I'm kind of cut off from that: I basically say, "Hey, the schools are being really picky nowadays and it's a bit ridiculous, but at least you got into [name half-way decent school here], where you can be happy. More important than prestige is whether you can be happy at a school. If you'll be happy at said university, then I wouldn't be depressed. It could always be worse: you could just not go to college at all like my estranged meth-addicted, pregnant at 16 cousin."</p>

<p>At least when I put it into perspective, it makes me feel better. More important than getting into Harvard is getting into college and for a lot of people, some have never even finished high school.</p>

<p>Isn't it a little presumptuous be angry at the colleges? Sure, they didn't see the person for the paper, but you didn't see the paper. Do you really know what the teachers wrote in their recs, how good their personal essays were? Have you read all the applications from the rest of the applicant pool to those colleges to see where your friends stack up?</p>

<p>That's point #1. You really don't know. </p>

<p>Consider, too, that most top colleges openly state they could build a class equally as talented out of the kids they reject. So even if they ARE as qualified as those that got in, well, life is unfair. Not that your friends want to hear this right now, and it would be cruel to say it now when the wound is fresh, but this is how life works. People face misfortune and unfairness every day. Walk down to the local hospital and ask yourself how many of the patients deserved their disease or accident. Marriages end in divorce or you find out your spouse has been hiring escort services, raises and promotions at work can go to those who play office politics best, and so on. People are victims of crime, of accidents. They get laid off from their jobs thru no fault of their own. Where is the fairness in all that? </p>

<p>The point is life isn't fair, and part of the growing-up process is to come to this realization. Up to now loving parents have done their best to shelter their kids from the harms of this world. Wanting to know where you're going and with whom isn't just to kill all the fun in your life, its out of worry and concern. With college decisions the true nature of life is unmasked, in all its capriciousness and glory.</p>

<p>So what do you say? You empathize with them, acknowledge they really wanted to go to X, Y, and Z, and that not getting in is painful. You agree when they say they thought they had a good chance. You don't say the colleges made a mistake, because you don't know that. You encourage them to look to the future, assure them that as some doors close that some other ones open up (even if you can't see them yet).</p>