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As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

How to Avoid Your Child Feeling Rejection

In   a recent survey, high school principals indicated  that

their  most  serious  problem  was apathy  on  the  part  of  the

students.    I   suspect   some students become  apathetic  as  a

means  of protecting themselves from being hurt.  If you are  not

successful  after   giving everything you have to  a  task,   the

best  thing  to  do is to decide that you  really  did  not  care

anyhow.  Try not to let that happen in your family.
This   is  the  time  of  year  when  students  learn    how

successful they were at playing the college admission game.  They

are   receiving  their  acceptance  and  rejection  letters  from

colleges.   Many  students get into fine colleges but still  feel

that  they  have failed because they did not get  into  the  most

prestigious college or the one that is “in” that year.  I believe

students who feel this way are under the mistaken impression that

admission to the “in” college means half the battle is  won. They

assume  that  they  can  use  the  college’s  reputation   as   a

substitute for hard work.  It is  still  true that you get out of

college what you  put into it.
Parents will have to help their children deal with rejection

at  this  time.  Research shows that  most college  students  are

very happy with the colleges they eventually attend even  though,

in most cases, it is not the college of their first choice.  They

may  not  feel this way immediately because  many  students  have 
p 7   3                     

difficulty  adjusting the first year.  In most cases, this  would

happen  no  matter  what  college  the  student  attends.    This

phenomena  is  not a function of the college, but a  function  of

freshmen in general. They might feel, however, that the grass  is

greener  on the other campus and they would be doing much  better

if only they had gotten into the other college.  This is  usually

not  so.   It helps for parents to encourage  their  children  to

remain in whatever college they are at for at least two years.

Keep   encouraging  them.   Respond  to   the   emotion

expressed  not  the content.  It usually does not  help  to  give

logical explanations about why their present college is good  for

them.  Sentences like:  “This college has an outstanding faculty.

Just  look  at all of the books in the library.”  Or  even,  “The

football team is the best in the nation.”   They really cannot be

convinced  rationally.   The best approach is to respond  to  the

emotion  by  saying, “It’s hard, but I think you can do  it.”   I

have confidence in you.”  ” I know you are going through a  tough

time. Let’s talk about it.”

My son did not get into the college of his first choice.  It

was  a  blow  to his ego.  His response was  to  write  rejection

letters  to the colleges informing them, with great  regret,  and

after  great  deliberation,  that  he  could  not  accept   their

rejections.   Taking  this  action helped him feel  less  like  a

passive victim of the system.  He did very well in the college he

finally  attended  and  while he still looks back  on  the  whole

application/admission  process  as  very difficult,  he  has  few

regrets about his final choice.  
p 7   3                     

Students  should know that it is much easier to transfer  to

the  colleges  of  their original choice as juniors  than  to  be

admitted  as freshmen.  The reason is that some students  do  not

survive  the  first  two years and drop  out,  leaving  room  for

others.   Also, students who do well in their first two years  of

college, are usually acceptable to any other college because they

have a proven track record.

Students usually do not choose a major or begin intense work

in  their  major field until junior year.  Many students  do  not

know what they want to major in as freshmen so may not choose the

college best suited for them.  They sometimes can do this  better

as  juniors and make wiser choices.  They can choose the  college

which  has  the strongest department for their major. This  is  a

great advantage since few colleges are strong in all  departments

no matter how great their reputation.

All of these thoughts may help students deal with  rejection

but  in the final analysis what will really help the most is  the

support, sympathy and encouragement of their families.

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