Academic Rejection is a Positive Thing
Although rejection is a painful experience, it is also a necessary part of life. We will never avoid rejection in all totality, so we might as well get used to it and take it in stride. If you never get rejected, in all likelihood it is because you are not living up to your full potential.
Every person in existence deals with the issue of rejection-both as the rejecter and the rejected. There are several kinds of rejection. We are all vulnerable to rejection professionally, socially, romantically and academically, which translates into many opportunities to be stung during our lifetimes. Rejection can sting the psyche and bruise the ego like nothing else we've experienced.
We are going to focus on the topic of being rejected from colleges and universities, which is also known as academic rejection. Feelings of anger and disappointment might rise to the surface when you receive that rejection letter from the nursing program at your school of choice. After all, you worked diligently for several years to complete the prerequisite courses while juggling employment and other responsibilities. You maintained an outstanding grade point average and achieved good test scores. You even volunteered at a hospital, hoping this would help you gain admission to nursing school. But the rejection letter arrived and slapped you in the face with news you didn't particularly want to hear.
Some students can be swept away with bitterness and humiliation after having been rejected, or are so terrified of repeated instances of rejection that they stop applying at schools altogether. But by sustaining a positive attitude and appraising your abilities honestly, dealing with rejection can be less painful. You must understand two points: (1) rejection is an inescapable part of life and (2) do not waste your time agonizing over it. Rejection doesn't kill you. It actually helps you.
Do not take academic rejection personally.
If you were rejected from a nursing program when you had an especially high grade point average and amazing test scores, don't take it personally. Be cognizant that the school's nursing program probably received hundreds of well-rounded applications from other candidates with high GPAs and great test scores. If 200 people apply for 60 available spaces in the nursing program, 140 applicants must be eliminated from the process. Some rejected candidates are good students.
Use rejection as a learning experience.
Do not shame yourself over any inadequacies you believe you may have. However, if multiple have rejected you, it might be a good idea to review your application and identify areas where you can improve. Did you earn a 'B' grade in anatomy & physiology? You may want to retake this course to earn an 'A' grade if your school allows it. Do you have a healthcare-related job? If not, you may want to find part-time work in a hospital or nursing home to enhance your next application to nursing school. Approaching rejection in a mature manner will strengthen your perseverance and pave the road toward self-improvement.
Recognize your feelings.
Feelings of resentment, shock and disillusionment are very normal when an entity such as a school rejects you. Accept these negative feelings without purposely trying to block them out. Even though the sting of rejection hurts badly at first, you will move ahead with your life if you can recognize your feelings, accept them for what they are, and not dwell on them for too long.
Rejection, while hurtful for everyone, is an essential part of life. We will never totally avoid it, so get accustomed to it and take it in stride. If you never get rejected, in all likelihood you are not living up to your full capability socially, professionally, romantically or academically. Since you are responsible for your success (or lack of it), you can boost your chances of succeeding through taking risks, facing rejections, dusting yourself off and trying until you get what you want. Once you stop trying, you stop succeeding.
Rejection helps to shape our character. Rejection teaches us lessons. Embrace rejection and take it in stride.Last edit by Joe V on Dec 19, '13
About TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.
TheCommuter has '11' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 36 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 37,871; Likes: 68,394.Dec 18, '13Rejection is positive? What is this, Orwellian doublespeak? It's a lesson, sure, but acceptance is positive, rejection is a harsh lesson. It's outright negative, however you can MAKE it into a positive situation by working at it until you get accepted. Let me repeat, in and of itself rejection is pretty much as negative as it gets, it's up to the individual to turn it around and make it into a positive.Dec 18, '13At my program, I was rejected for fall semester and they called me when they had secured funds for an extra class in the spring, I didn't have to apply again or pay the fee! Also, when I got in, I found that the class from the fall were no where near as awesome as my classmates in the Spring class. I believe that these things all work out, in the end!Dec 18, '13Quote from bebbercorn^ this: )At my program, I was rejected for fall semester and they called me when they had secured funds for an extra class in the spring, I didn't have to apply again or pay the fee! Also, when I got in, I found that the class from the fall were no where near as awesome as my classmates in the Spring class. I believe that these things all work out, in the end!Dec 18, '13This semester was full of rejections for me. I had to withdraw from A&P and had an instructor tell me I would never get accepted into a nursing program anywhere and I got a D in Intermediate Algebra. Rejection is part of life. The hard part is figuring out if you should just accept it and move on or reject it and keep trying.Dec 19, '13Getting rejected by a college normally is not something that stops you. Maybe it's a problem in Poland or some other tiny country where you have only 10 universities in the whole country, but it's not a problem in USA where you have thousands of schools competing for qualified candidates.
I'd rather have competitive, selective schools, even if it means some people have to be turned away, than open-door-policy schools that graduate you with an honorary piece of paper that will give you the same earnings as the guy running a hot dog stand.
I got rejected by a school, applied somewhere else and got accepted. My buddies ran into the same problem, but eventually they got accepted. I never felt like getting into a program was an issue that couldn't be overcome. Of course, this is assuming very good grades. If you have a C average when taking prerequisites then it's a problem, you have to discuss this with a counselor. My classmates in the RN program were very strong academically, very high GPAs. Very good grades are expected in this business, from everybody-doctors, therapists, nurses, etc. If you've ever been a patient you know why.Last edit by Concerto_in_C on Dec 19, '13Dec 30, '13We live in a society that has forgotten that failure motivates us. We put such a negative view on failing that people are afraid to even try to do something because of it. Failure though, is not negative. As you said, it's a lesson, a learning experience. No one is perfect the first time out every time. The only negative failures are ones you learn nothing from.Jan 8, '14"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” –Thomas A. Edison
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