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Why don't admissions officers tell students why they were rejected?

I have been receiving my college acceptance (and sadly, rejection) letters lately. I understand that admission officers have to read literally thousands of applications but it hurts to not know why you weren't selected for their school. There are students out there getting rejected by their dream schools without any form of closure. I know life goes on and you forget about it but sometimes you can't help but wonder. It helps for future reference and it can lead to self-improvement. All it takes it someone to honestly tell you. #why #collegeacceptance #collegerejection #college-admissions #admissions #admissionofficers #help


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Nancy’s Answer

Hi, Samantha,

Letters like that to students would take up a huge amount of time, and there are not enough staff to personally write to say, 10,000, or even 50,000 applicants. Another factor is that many of the decisions have nothing to do with the applicants, and have more to do with balancing enrollment between the sexes, among the states and countries of origin, among diverse students, and among majors at the colleges. Besides those reasons, finding out that your ACT score or 10th grade English grade may have been a factor, or that the reader just didn’t appreciate your essay, or that they needed a Hispanic male instead of an Asian female that day in their nursing program, might make the decision feel unfair or arbitrary. Sometimes those decisions are, because admissions personnel are human, too.


It is far better to contemplate your dream future rather than your dream school. And guess who is in charge of that? You are!


You can succeed by getting an education at most colleges offering preparation for your intended career that are accredited. If you really want to try again, some colleges leave dozens or hundreds of spots for transfer students after freshman, or more typically, sophomore year. I know some students who worked hard and then got accepted later at a “reach” school, after proving themselves by doing college work. However, your belief in yourself is your best career success indicator.

Nancy recommends the following next steps:

Check on transfer possibilities
Go with your best fit school for now which you are accepted to and can afford—you may love it!
Work on challenging yourself other ways, such as by doing research or finding an internship

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Sophie’s Answer

Unfortunately this is often the case. There are so many applicants to every school that it is exceedingly difficult for admissions officers to explain to each applicant why they did not get accepted. There is a level of chance with college applications and there will never be a way to know for sure that you will get in somewhere, but there is no reason to fret, because you will end up attending the school you are meant to be at. I hardly remember applying to schools now, and only have fond memories of my actual college experience.

Sophie recommends the following next steps:

Practice positive self-messaging before bed each night and say the following mantra: "I will go to a great school." You will see it once you believe it.

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