If you look at your life's journey as a train that stops at many stations and allows you to get on and off any number of times, it can help you gain perspective about rejection. Your second choice may not be second best. There may be opportunities that arise at your second choice that may not have been possible at your first choice. That rejection letter can give you an opportunity to reevaluate your goals. Why did you choose your first choice school? What is it about your second choice that makes you feel it is not as good? What do you really want out of life? What are you looking for in a college? How many ways can you achieve your goals?
I know many students who have received rejections and used that experience as an opportunity to regroup. I just spoke recently with a student who had been rejected two years ago because his GPA was not high enough. He decided to do the first two years of his college courses at a local community college. While there, he applied himself with absolute focus and finished his first two years with a 4.0 GPA. He also made connections with professors who shared his passion and was able to get sterling letters of recommendation from them. His professors also connected him with a professional opportunity in his field of study. With his newly acquired experience, connections, and resources, he reapplied to his first school of choice again and was accepted. He began coursework this fall and is loving the experience.
I also know a student who was rejected from the only school she ever wanted to attend. She was devastated. We explored what it was about her first choice that made it so appealing. We listed all the qualities of that school and then began to look at other schools and compare them to her list. In the end we found several other colleges that were comparable and could give her similar experiences and opportunities as her first choice. She applied to three of those other colleges and was accepted at two of them. She is now a junior at the college she chose and is happily reporting the experience is fulfilling all of her hopes.
Life is full of opportunities. Many of the best ones come from unexpected turns in our life's journey. So don't despair. Open yourself up to new possibilities. Look for hidden opportunities. Reevaluate your choices. It's not about better or best, it is about finding out how to make the most of any situation. Not being accepted at your first choice is not the end of the world. In fact, it may just be the beginning...