Sep   2011



How to Deal With Big Setbacks During Your College Search

Market Research Senior Analyst, Carnegie Communications
Last Updated: Apr 26, 2016

Sometimes, things will not work out as smoothly as you thought they would. For instance, over the last few months I began looking into graduate school. I was gathering books for the GMATs and researching programs, and then I tore my ACL. I needed to realign my financial priorities as well as my time in order to get better. As an outcome, graduate school is put off another semester at least, maybe even a year. When your college admission process hits a setback, you need to stop, take a breath, and realize “this is not the end of the world.”

Scenario #1: Family Death/Sickness

This is a hard time for you and your family and the last thing on your mind might be college. You have many options, here are a few: you could continue the admission process and attend college in the fall, take time off to deal with the situation, or take classes at a local community college until you are able to go to school full time. Although I wanted to be with my family in this difficult time, my family and I decided that I couldn't change my sister's situation by staying at home. My chance to go to Bentley was a positive opportunity that I might not have been able to act on in the future. You need to weigh these options and realize what is best for you and your family during this difficult time. Dealing with the grief can be very difficult during this time, but many colleges, like Bentley University, offer assistance once you are on campus.

Scenario #2: Financial Issues Arise

Maybe you didn’t receive as much financial aid as you wanted or an unplanned expense arose, but you might still be able to work it out and attend your dream college or university. First, I would look into scholarships (local, state-wide, and national) to help support your college education, and then you can move onto federal and private grants and loans. Finally, you can always work during school. Many people, including myself had side jobs in college and it always helped with bills and gave us a monetary “safety net” in case anything else came up.

Scenario #3: Not Accepted into Top College(s)

It’s ok! You can still have a great experience elsewhere. This is why you are encouraged to apply to more than one school. You might attend another institution and love it, or you may want to transfer after freshman year, but either way, it will work out! Also, know you are not a “failure” if you did not get accepted. Sometimes the school has already met a quota or maybe does not think you will thrive well in their particular campus environment. You have to cope with the fact that you didn’t get in, and move on.

The college search and acceptance process is stressful, and sometimes things happen that make it a little more stressful than normal. But remember, it is just an obstacle not a roadblock!

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About Rebecca Pilloni

Rebecca Pilloni

Rebecca is a Market Research Analyst at Carnegie Communications. She has worked exclusively with colleges and universities, both public and private, on branding, positioning and curriculum viability projects. Rebecca graduated from Bentley University last year, with a double major in Marketing and Global Perspectives. In college, she was actively involved in women’s rugby, Colleges Against Cancer, and Relay for Life. Thinking back to her own college search and admission process, she regrets not doing more research! Rebecca is an avid sports fan, traveler, and loves spending time outdoors. She is looking forward to sharing some of the things she experienced to make your college search a success!


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