Sometime during March, students begin to receive acceptance and rejection letters from graduate schools. If you are lucky enough, you may one of the select few individuals who will receive an acceptance letter. On the other hand, you may be disappointed to learn that you have been rejected by a school or even worst be rejected by your number one school of choice. Many students who apply to graduate school will receive at least one rejection letter. Some may even be rejected by every school they have applied to. Although rejection is devastating, you should not lose hope. A school basis their decision on several different factors, including factors that do not involve academic achievement. There are a number of reasons why graduate schools reject applicants. Reasons can include:
- Not enough spots for enrollment.
- Lack of funding.
- Low GRE, LSAT, or MCAT scores.
- A low GPA.
- Insufficient research experience.
- Not enough experience in the field via internships.
- A lack of or an inadequate amount of extracurricular activities.
- Goals of applicant do not match the goals of the program.
- Interests do not match the interests of professors.
- Unorganized or incoherent personal statement.
- Unimpressive - or simply fair - recommendation letters.
- Poor performance on the interview.
We have all experienced rejection at some point in our lives. It doesn't mean that you're not suited for the profession. And it doesn't predict future rejection. Instead, use this rejection as a learning experience and improve your application. Learn from your rejections by preparing adequately for the second time around. There are several different ways to deal with rejection.
Dealing with Rejection:
- Contact the department or faculty for more information about weaknesses in your application. Explain that you'd like to apply again next year and seek input. Recognize that many programs may not provide input. Don't be a pest.
- Speak to a counselor or advisor.
- Work on your weaknesses.
- Retake the GRE’s, LSAT’s, or MCAT’s, after taking practice exams and perhaps prep courses.
- Take extra courses.
- Gain experience through volunteer jobs or internships.
- Work for a year or two.
- Revise your admissions essays. Have someone else read and edit your essay as well.
- Prepare for interviews by practicing the appropriate skills.
- Help your professors write better recommendations by providing them with adequate information about yourself.
- Ask different professors for recommendations.
- Apply to a masters Program in the same or a similar field.
- Apply as a non-negree-seeking student.
- Apply to different schools.
Although some rejection is inevitable, you can direct your experience into a learning opportunity. Next time around, be sure to have a Plan B as a just in case measure. Dealing with rejection can be very difficult but it doesn't have to mean the end of your academic career.