Monthly Article Archives: March 2018

“Have You Ever Been Rejected?”Robert Brooks, Ph.D.

Rejection from College

I started to see Luke in therapy at the beginning of his senior year in high school.  He was burdened by insecurity, low self-esteem, and anxiety.  As his parents explained, Luke seemed to “worry about everything,” with the current focus of his anxiety on whether he would be accepted at one of his top two college choices.  Both were Ivy League schools with a low acceptance rate (or viewed from the other side, a high rejection rate).  His high school counselor advised Luke to apply to other colleges as well, colleges that offered a higher probability of admission.  Luke agreed but said that going to a college other than either of his top two choices would be a “real downer.”  He added, “I would feel like a failure if I didn’t get into either of them.” Luke was rejected for admission by both schools.  He was accepted at several very reputable colleges, but the two rejections resulted in his feeling devastated and worried that his options for a good job and a “good life” had been significantly reduced.  The fact that with one exception, four of his best friends experienced a similar outcome of rejection from Ivy League schools did

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