Here’s What It Feels Like to Get Rejected by Your Dream College

by Raisa de los Reyes   |  Feb 24, 2023
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Chances are, you’ve already mapped out your legacy and future even before you entered high school. This will most likely include your plans of studying your preferred course at your dream university. However, your plans come to a full stop when you receive a rejection letter from the college you were supposed to attend. Your whole world begins to fall apart and you become dismayed at the fact that you had prepared yourself for nothing. Although you may not get accepted into the college you wanted, this does not mean that the next four years of your life is thrown out of the window. 

ALSO READ: "I Got Rejected By My Dream School And I'm Feeling Ashamed"

When I got rejected from my dream university, I felt like my whole world stopped turning and that everything I had done was for nothing. But it was through this low moment in my life that I was able to re-assess how I should nurture my growth. Ricky Lee, a famous Filipino screenwriter, once said that you need the darkness to really see the brightness of the stars.

Here are some key points that I wish I knew before I underwent this life-changing experience:

1. It's one of my lowest points in life. 

I learned that I did not pass the College Entrance Test (CET) to my top university while I was at our baccalaureate mass. I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. My classmates and I were scrolling through a series of pictures of the passers posted on Twitter. I remember scanning the list of names more than twice to try and cushion my disappointment. I thought they had misspelled my name or that I skipped another photo. But there was no denying it, I simply did not get accepted.


My heart immediately sank to the floor. All the sleepless nights and days filled with so much anxiety finally caught up to me. I couldn’t stop crying. My mom was seated beside me and she never stopped holding my hand. She kept on comforting me, reminding me that everything was going to be okay. However, at that moment, it felt like my future had already ended even before it had the chance of beginning.

2. Don’t be afraid to try again. 

I never stopped trying. The summer after graduation, I applied to different certificate courses at the other campuses of the same university. I underwent a series of interviews and examinations. Unfortunately, I was still rejected, but this didn’t stop me. I knew I could still withstand a few more rejections if it meant being able to study at my dream university. 

I decided to study at a different college for one school year before applying as a transferee. However, the competition was tough, and I only ended up receiving yet another rejection. I was immediately transported back to my high school self, crying over something I couldn’t achieve in spite of my efforts. For years, I branded myself as a failure. It took a lot of time before I could finally acknowledge that my “setbacks” are not equivalent to my worth and potential. But I do not regret trying, and I learned how to be grateful for  all the rejections that I received in my life. 

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While the entrance exam is the primary method of being admitted  into a university, it is not the only option you have. Numerous colleges and universities offer certificate courses which can be completed in at least two years. This provides you another opportunity to be reconsidered and reassessed by the school of your choosing. You may also opt to apply as a transferee or a shiftee once the school is open to accepting more students. Moreover, your college life does not simply end after four years. You can study again for a master’s degree or study a whole new undergraduate course. 

3. Surround yourself with the things you love. 

As a person who does not like to do the bare minimum, the series of rejections hit me hard. I couldn’t help but blame myself for what I was not able to achieve. I felt like I disappointed all of my loved ones. More importantly, I felt like I disappointed my younger self who always liked to dream big. Due to the burden that I put on my shoulders, my self-esteem plummeted and I lost so much confidence in my capabilities. However, with the support of my family and friends, I decided to invest more of my time in re-igniting the passion for hobbies and skills that I had neglected while I was in high school. I started to write, read, and sing again. This helped me find contentment and enjoyment in everything I used to do, which led me to believe that I can still do and grow more.


4. It’s not the end of the world.

After being denied so many times, I decided to look at my situation from a more positive perspective. As cliche as it sounds, maybe I wasn’t really meant to be a student at that university. At present, I am more than happy and proud to be where I am at this point in my life. At my current university, I have met a lot of people who have nurtured my personal growth as a student, classmate, leader, and friend. They pushed me out of my comfort zone, which led me to so many opportunities that I never thought I would come across. Eventually, the pain of straying from the path that I had curated began to hurt less and less. Instead, I became thankful to be at this point in my life, to be standing where I am meant to stand. Because when one door closes, there will always be a series of doors that await me in the future.


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