You've applied to colleges, and are eagerly awaiting their response … but then you find out that your first choice college hasn't offered you a place. But before you sink into despair at this disappointment, take a deep breath - it's not the end of the world or your chances of getting into a decent college. These are the steps to take when your first choice college turns you down …
1. Don't Panic
Firstly, don't panic. It's a big disappointment being turned down by the college you really want to go to, but it doesn't mean your life is ruined. There are lots of good colleges with interesting courses. You don't always get your first choices in life, so see this as a hiccup and focus on turning it to your advantage.
2. Speak to Admissions Tutors
Call the admissions tutor at your first choice college. You may have missed out on a place simply because the course is over-subscribed. The admissions tutor can discuss other options with you; perhaps there is a similar course with available places. They may offer you a place on other courses there and then. Also call admissions tutors at other colleges.
3. Can You Reapply Next Year?
You can also look into reapplying next year; there may be fewer applications next year and therefore a higher chance of getting into the college you want. Or perhaps you can retake exams and improve your grades for a second application. Speak to admissions tutors about whether this would help.
4. Take a Gap Year
If this has completely derailed your plans, you may benefit from taking a gap year - but do something productive with that year. It will give you a chance to consider your options; maybe you'll realise that you're not so unhappy at missing out on your favored course after all.
5. Consider Other Colleges & Courses
You may have had your heart set on a particular college, but it's worth considering others. Whatever your priorities were - the facilities, city or the course itself - there are bound to be other colleges that also offer what you're looking for. Also broaden your horizons and consider other courses similar to the one you wanted - or even something completely different.
6. Be Open to Alternatives
Having your plans upset is disappointing, but open your mind to other possibilities. There are plenty of alternative options for you to explore. You may even look back and realise that you were actually happier on your second choice course than you would have been if you'd been able to do your first choice.
7. Remember You Haven't Failed
Although it's a big disappointment to be turned down, remind yourself that it doesn't make you a failure. Many courses are oversubscribed, and they have to turn down plenty of students. It doesn't mean that your application didn't impress the college. You still have a future, so work on getting yourself a new place and doing well in that.
However upset you are, try to turn this disappointment to your advantage. You need to take control of your future and make it happen for yourself. With the right attitude, you'll have an amazing time at college, even if it wasn't your first choice. How would you overcome disappointment?