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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

How to deal with not getting into your chosen university

Applying to university is often full of excitement but what do you do if you don’t get into your first choice? Find out more about what to do if this happens.

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When applying to university, it’s very common to have a certain institution or destination in mind.  


From choosing where you want to study in to finding the right subject to study at your ideal university, it’s natural to have these ideas in mind before applying. Many students even choose courses in high school that they know will help them get into their desired university when the time for application comes. But what do you do if you don’t get into your chosen university? 


It’s important to understand that not getting into the university you wanted doesn’t mean an end to your student journey before it even began, not at all. Just because one university didn’t accept you as a student, doesn’t mean that others won’t. 


It’s hard to comprehend just how many universities there are, especially if you are increasing your options by choosing to study abroad, and therefore, you have so many options available to you.  


While you may feel disheartened that you didn’t get into your first choice, there is absolutely no reason to give up on your plans to go to university altogether. 


There are many reasons why you may not have been accepted but understanding why this may be the case can really help you make a decision, especially now that your original plans have been changed. 


The reasons universities turn down applications often include, but are not limited to: 

  • not meeting the qualification requirements 

  • not having a relevant educational background 

  • the university only allowing a small number of students per year 

  • your application not standing out 


From just looking at these handful of examples, it’s clear that not being accepted to a university isn’t something that’s necessarily personal. Just because your educational background didn’t meet their requirements, doesn’t mean it has any less value than it originally did. 


Similarly, the fact that the assessors that looked at your application or personal statement didn’t choose you in that one institution doesn’t mean that another university won’t be pleased to receive it. 


However, this doesn’t mean that you should just ignore the university’s response straight away though, as it can be a valuable lesson going forward. Once you’ve got over the rejection after the initial disappointment and have decided to continue on your application journey, there are a couple of things that you can do to help yourself going forward. 


Decide where you want to go next 


You may already have a back-up destination in mind or might now feel that you’re back at square one in terms of looking at where you might want to study. You may also now be dealing with option overload. Either way, it’s important to take into consideration your unsuccessful application before applying to your next university.  


If you had a country in mind, it’s great to know that you can still apply to a university in that same country and still live where you initially planned. Let’s imagine you were hoping to study in the United States. Just because you didn’t get into one university there doesn’t mean there aren't so many universities across such a big country, all with great things to offer and many accepting vast numbers of international students.  


Even if you had a certain area in mind like the West Coast, or even a specific state, there would still be a number of options available to you. 


It’s important to consider where you’re applying next though, as you may come across the same issues you experienced in your first application. Are you applying to a similar course despite not having a relevant educational background? Does your personal statement still not truly reflect your passion for the subject? 


While each university will have a different standard, it’s important to at least consider the feedback you have been given. 


Going over the university’s response 


Though this might be difficult, especially if you’ve only recently received it, it’s a very important step in moving forward and learning from the experience. 


Their reasoning may just be a case of qualifications not matching or being picked over someone that they see as a more eligible applicant, if they have made any notes on why your application wasn’t successful it’s vital that you take this into consideration.  


Even the smallest comments here or there can make a huge difference in your next application and can sometimes mean the difference between acceptance and another closed door. 


Not getting into a university, especially if it was your first choice, can feel like a big blow. It’s crucial to remember that this doesn’t mean you can’t continue to look elsewhere and can even lead to you finding a more ideal course in an equally great location. 


There are so many incredible courses all over the world to apply for, find the right one for you with our course matcher tool

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