College admissions can either be the bane of your existence, the most rewarding process of your life or just another “yes” to add to your list. It’s the system that attempts to quantify every success, every failure, every lesson learned, every deed served and every award you received during high school, in order to deem you worthy of attending a particular institution or not. Those more fortunate kids that have an easier time taking standardized tests or come from a minority love the college admissions process because they don’t have the hardest time making it though it. On the contrary, average students from middle class families bend over backwards to increase their resumes and set themselves apart from other students, but it hardly pays off.

So, to those of you who got a big, fat “no” from the school of your dreams, or to those of you who can’t/couldn’t attend the school of your dreams for any other reasons (be it for money, distance or anything else), this one’s for you. Plan B isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are a few lessons to be learned from attending your second-choice school, and even some valuable rewards; it’s all in the way you look at it.

Life is stocked full of no’s, and at some point, you have to learn how to take them. Taking a “no” from your dream school and lending a “yes” to your backup school could be the first of those many no’s in your life. Here’s the deal, though — that “no” isn’t negotiable; it’s final. So, lesson number one: either you can whine about it and fall into the quicksand trap of rejection, or you can pick your head up and move along with your life. It's the same principle with the rest of the no's in life; move on or stay miserable. Moving on doesn't necessarily mean walking away, though. If something bothers you enough, either do something to change that thing or do something to change your attitude. In terms of college, either change the feeling of rejection by transferring into your dream school later on or by choosing a different school, or change the bad attitude by finding the positives in your backup school.

That's lesson number two — find the positives. Like I said earlier, life is full of no's."It's full of let downs and disappointments and it's full of obstacles to move past. The best way to make it past said let downs, disappointments and obstacles is to change your attitude about them. Look for a way to turn any situation around, so you can find a reason to smile about it. Be thankful for the opportunities you have been given, even if they weren't what you initially hoped for, because guess what – life's best blessings are blessings in disguise. Don't dwell on the negative; try to find a reason to smile.

The final lesson to learn is the importance of trust — trusting the master plan, that is. Life won't always go the way you want it to, but that doesn't mean it's going the wrong way. God knows the next million steps you have to make, then the next million after that. You don't. So, it's important for you to trust in His name and trust in the knowledge that He knows what's in store for you.

That's a lot easier said than done, as are the other lessons to be learned from getting denied from your dream school, but they're possible.


Getting a big, fat, ugly, unforgettable, devastating "no" from the school I'd wanted to attend my whole life turned out to be one of the most rewarding no's I've ever heard. In that, I've learned to keep my chin up despite what's going on in my life, I've learned to find something positive in any situation despite how negative it may feel and I've learned to trust in the divine plan of the one who gave me the breathe of life. I've grown into a much stronger version of myself than I would have if I'd been accepted into my dream school. I wouldn't have my amazing friends, I wouldn't have the same opportunities that I've had, I wouldn't have had any of the memories from the experiences I've had. I'm thankful that I was declined, and one day, you will be too.