It would be nice to say that no grad school applicant should ever give up. Sometimes, however, deciding not to reapply to graduate school is the best option. Ask yourself the following four questions:
1. Is graduate school necessary for the career you desire?
Sometimes graduate degrees are helpful but not essential for entry or advancement in a given field. If a graduate degree is helpful but not essential to success in your desired field, you have the option of putting grad school on hold for now.
2. Is this the right career for you?
After receiving a rejection letter it's easy to immediately decide to reapply without ever considering if reapplying is the right thing to do. Is this the career you truly want? Is it right for you? Sometimes we believe a certain career is right for us, even when it doesn't match our experiences, abilities, or even interests. A career that doesn't fit you will never make you happy. Sometimes admissions committees have more insight into us than we realize.
3. Is graduate school right for you right NOW?
Some students wait to attend graduate school. They get a job, often in a related field, and get some work experience. Experience in the field can help you determine if it's the right field for you.
4. Is the graduate degree you sought right for you?
Many students apply to doctoral programs, which have a much higher rate of rejection than master's programs. Do you need a doctoral degree for the career you choose? Unless you plan a career as a professor or high level administrator, a master's degree will likely suit your career goals. As you consider a master's degree, remember that you can always enroll in a master's program or obtain a mater's degree and then apply to a doctoral program. In fact, in some cases a master's degree can aid your entry to PhD programs .
This is a difficult decision and the careful self examination needed to consider these issues is challenging. Take your time. Deciding to abandon plans for graduate study is not easy and should not be made hastily. Remember that no decision is irreversible -- you can always change your mind.