Member View: Change Your Mentality on College Rejection


Rejection is always tough whether it’s at work, in a relationship, or in college admission.

NACAC member Rick Clark, the director of undergraduate admissions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has some advice.

First, if you’ve been rejected, Clark writes, you likely need to take a moment. It’s okay that you’re not okay.

“Go ahead and scream, cry, beat your pillow, cook or eat a lot of something (do all of those at once if you’re really upset). You do you. Whatever it takes to begin clearing your head,” he wrote.

But what matters is that “you will be okay.”

“Here is the thing: every year—EVERY YEAR—we talk to current students (even tour guides!) who say Georgia Tech was not their first choice,” Clark wrote. “They did not get in to their top school, or they could not afford another place, or a myriad of other reasons. But they ended up here and cannot imagine being anywhere else.”

He lays out a few truths about the admission process and encourages denied students to switch their mindset.

“’Preparing yourself for no’ means looking at a deny not as a hard stop, but rather as a pivot,” Clark wrote. “People think they are looking for the perfect college. You need to be looking for the perfect mentality.”

Read Clark’s full list of “truths about being denied” on the Georgia Tech Admission Blog.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

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