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You probably already knew your dream university as early as your grade school years — earlier, even. You’re motivated to study hard so that when the time comes your dream university will welcome you with open arms. But what do you do when your expected perfect college experience gets blocked by a rejection letter?

Failing to get into your dream university can be disheartening for any aspiring college student. You can’t help but feel bad about the result no matter how much your family and friends comfort you. Even when you convince yourself that “everything happens for a reason”, you still wonder — was your hard work not enough? Being rejected by the university of your choice stings. It might feel as an ultimate setback but remember that it’s not the end of the world. Whatever might have caused it—insufficient correct marks, financial problems, etc.—it’s important to remind yourself that this does not define you. This failure might even lead you to new opportunities you haven’t considered before.

rejected college application pop inqpop university

To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, various universities in the country decided not to hold entrance exams for the academic year 2021-2022. On-site examinations might put students, proctors, university staff, and parents at risk to the coronavirus. On the other hand, online examinations can’t ensure and guarantee the honesty of the students and not all students have a stable internet connection necessary for a synchronous examination.

Instead of the usual college admissions tests, applicants will be evaluated based on their past academic performance, essays and recommendations from teachers. Schools like the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Far Eastern University and the University of Santo Tomas opted for this process of admissions. UP reports that more than 100,000 students applied to become iskolar ng bayan.

Meanwhile, there are other universities that decided to continue administering online entrance examinations. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, for one, had a 31% passing rate this year. Out of 15,000 applicants, 13,000 qualified to take the exams. Only around 4,000 students passed the admissions test.

Throughout the large number of hopefuls trying to get into the top universities, only a small percentage will most likely be able to get through so don’t feel too bad! By virtue of luck or destiny, life will eventually bring you to the place where you’ll grow and start becoming a contributing member of the society.

If you’re a bit lost on what to do, here are a few tips to consider for your next step into your college life:


Being stubborn has its perks

If your dream school is something you reeeaaally want, exhaust every possible channel you can to worm your way in. Check score cut-offs and prepare the stuff you need for reconsideration whether it be in first or second semester. Consider attending a different university for a year and then apply for a transfer later on. Do whatever you can to achieve your goal. Who knows? The universe might just get tired of your incessant persuasion and let you have your way.


Accept the unacceptable

If things don’t really go according to your plan, the next good thing that you can do is to learn to accept that you failed to go to your dream school. And really, it’s not the end of the world if that happens.

Charlotte Pintor shared how she came to terms with the fact that she didn’t get the chance to go to her desired university. Initially, she wanted to take up Tourism at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila but now she’s studying Public Administration at Universidad de Manila.

rejected university
Charlotte Pintor

According to her, it’s okay to feel bad and hurt when you get rejected by your dream university or school. However in the end, you have to accept it and you need to continue pursuing your dreams at another school. After all, achieving our goals should be our priority.

Remember that the university didn’t reject you as a person but just a tiny part of your sample works and experiences. Failing to get into that school does not mean you can’t still attain the dreams and goals you’ve set for yourself. Don’t get stuck in that failure. Give yourself a pat on the back for doing your best and move on.


Other people don’t really matter

In some instances, family expectations play a part in the drive someone has to achieve a goal that they set. When failure strikes, the insecurities end up reflected in other people’s words even if they don’t intend to be mean. Or worse, they actually hammer down on your insecurities when they express disappointment.

This is a point in your life where you especially need to learn how to drown that noise out. You can’t afford more hits to your confidence. Brush them off. Think about what YOU need and what YOU can do.


Review your options

Have you applied for other schools? Weigh your options on where to attend. One thing you might want to contemplate is the location. It’s not necessarily about whichever is closest or most accessible. Choose where you believe opportunities for career and social growth lie.

Naturally, what should be considered the most is the quality of education. Check forums of universities and colleges. Which school is the best when studying the course you want to take? Decide wisely.

However, it’s also important to remember that schools are nothing but names. Nathan P. Artificio, taking up Interior Design at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, shares his sentiment regarding university reputation.

“Nowadays, it’s not the school itself that makes it great—it’s the students. Noon, nakakasilaw ‘pag ‘yung mga university ay may mga credentials na, example, top architecture school in board exams, etc. Pero pagdating mo sa campus, pabaya naman ‘yung ibang faculty at admin. Minsan pa ay anti-student.” (tl: Nowadays, it’s not the school itself that makes it great—it’s the students. Back then, it’s easy to be blinded by universities with impressive credentials like ‘top architecture school in board exams,’ etc. But once you get in, you realize that the faculty and the admin doesn’t care. Sometimes, they’re even anti-student.) ⸺ Nathan P. Artificio



college plans
Nathan Artificio

Reputation will only take you so far. A university is made up of its students, faculty and staff. Be the student that will make your university a better academy for your future juniors.


Trust the process

People always say that “when one door closes another one opens”. Believe it or not, this expression is often true. Your dream school may have closed its door on you but it doesn’t mean that others will too.

One of the people that believes this expression is Ela Mae Ocampo, a Communications student from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. She wanted to go to UP Diliman to be a Theater Arts student but things didn’t go according to her plan.

However, this didn’t stop her from dreaming and to keep pursuing her goals. She said, “I believe that closed doors are not rejections but opportunities to direct us into something better. Better than our plans and dreams.”

dream college
Ela Mae Ocampo


Don’t think that all hope is gone once the opportunity to attend your desired school is not possible. This failure might be the chance for you to discover opportunities that are more beneficial for you. Remember that there are endless possibilities out there.


Continue thriving

Know that in time, you’ll learn to get back up on your feet and realize that there are things far more important to you. You still need to do your best even if you’ve been rejected by your preferred university so don’t stop dreaming of achieving your goals.

For Rhea Carpio, failing at your dream school should not hinder you to continue persevering. She wanted to study at UP Diliman but ended up in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila where she’s currently taking BS Physical Therapy. Being in a different university doesn’t stop her from doing her best to achieve her dreams and goals in life.

Rhea Carpio


“Your future and success do not depend on what university you graduated from, but solely based on your vision in life and perseverance to attain your career goals,” she stated. According to Rhea, she experienced negative thoughts and doubts due to her experience but being in her current university made her better at handling stress and in learning from her mistakes.

Focus more on your studies and never stop believing in yourself. Prove to yourself and to those that doubt you how great you are by not losing sight of your ultimate goal in life; to succeed.

While it’s totally fine to momentarily feel bad about being rejected by any university or school, dwelling in the feeling of defeat will do you no good. It’s normal to feel lost for quite some time but know that continuing to think about the rejection will only result in doubt and hopelessness clouding your mind.

Failure and rejection are inevitable in one’s life. Being rejected by your dream university just happens to be one of them. What we can do is learn from the ones we made–and will make–in the future. You have to move on from what is already done in order to continue moving forward. Padayon, freshies!



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