Maybe you have your heart set on a certain program, maybe you’ve read all the brochures and have fallen in love with the idea of playing Frisbee on the lawn of some beautiful campus, or maybe you just want to get as far away from your hometown as possible, and University X seems like the ultimate, most perfect place for you to do that. So you write the best essay you can, jump through the paperwork hoops, and you find yourself holding that small, thanks-but-no-thanks envelope. You might want to cry. You probably will. (Lord knows I did.) This is your life, your future, it feels like everything hinges on whether some faceless admissions panel decides that you’re good enough.
The truth is that there are so many students applying for the same few positions, that even if you did everything “right,” it may just not happen. The selection process for universities is plagued by hyperspecific, bureaucratic, and uncontrollable factors. Maybe you would be perfect there, but maybe not. Even though colleges really try to sell you on the idea that they alone have this big, magical, singular thing that will give you all the tools you need to become who you want to be, there’s really no one place that can do that for you. It’s kind of like Dumbo and his magic feather, you know?
Try to just open yourself up to the possibility that something awesome can happen anywhere, in college or not, then awesome things will probably come up. Basically, keep your head up, girl.