Colleges across the country have mailed out acceptance and rejection letters for next year’s incoming class of students, which means many high school seniors will have to confront being denied admission to their top schools and figure out how to stay positive. Here are some tips for coping with a college rejection letter:

  • Before opening the letter, know what to expect: A thin envelope means it’s a rejection, while a thick envelope contains a very lengthy explanation of why you didn’t get into the school.
  • After you’re done reading, immediately call the college’s Office of Admissions. There’s been a mistake.
  • Understand that it’s not personal. The applications board simply reviewed the materials you poured your heart into and decided they weren’t good enough.
  • Remember: There’s no one out there who can possibly understand the pain you’re feeling.
  • Focus on the positives. Some of the most successful people in history didn’t go to college because they were already busy changing the world by age 18.
  • Even though it’s tough, try putting things in perspective. In the real world, nobody actually cares where you went to college except employers, your parents, potential romantic partners, and you.
  • Cheer yourself up with a treat that you don’t deserve.
  • Stay optimistic. You can always apply as a transfer student in the future if your dream school grossly lowers its standards.
  • When you’re at your absolute lowest, take comfort in knowing your spot was taken by a more qualified, deserving student.
  • Above all, remember that rejection is just a normal part of an unsuccessful person’s life.