How to Handle Grad School Rejection | 04.14.10

Posted in Graduate Loans By Evan Jacobs

With the job market in a state of disrepair over the last few years, a number of young post-grads have turned their eyes to graduate school. Companies across the nation have begun raising their expectations for new hires, and a graduate school degree is rapidly becoming a staple among them. What that means is grad school has become much more competitive, particularly for popular degree programs, such as MBAs.

Unfortunately, that means many people will not be getting into their first-choice schools. When that happens to you, what steps can you take?

First, try improving your grad school resume. Three of the major criteria looked at by graduate school admissions offices are test scores, references and essays. Fortunately, these are all easily improved. Look at where you stand with regard to the school’s minimum test score requirements. If you are hovering at the minimum, consider retaking your GRE’s or other such tests for a higher score. Show your admissions essay to a writing coach or other trusted source. Try seeking out more prestigious references.

If that doesn’t work, you could expand your choice of schools. Look, we would all love to get a law degree from Harvard or a medical degree from Yale. We would also like to play second base for the Red Sox and date Rachel McAdams. Unfortunately, those aren’t terribly likely scenarios. So what you have to do is cast a wider net. While a graduate degree from a state school won’t hold the same prestige as one from a well-known private school, it can save you a ton of money in tuition costs. Think of it this way, if you are pursuing a graduate degree to increase your salary, the difference in tuition from the two schools would be like giving yourself a raise.

If you had your heart set on a certain school, look in to taking non-degree courses. Just because you were rejected from a specific program does not necessarily mean you are rejected from the school as a whole. This is an opportunity to show professors that not only are you a capable student, but you’re so passionate about the program, you’re willing to take classes even if they may not immediately lead to a degree.

Finally, consider alternative methods of education. Yes, I’m talking about an online degree. There are many online schools to choose from and many offer the program you need.  Click here for a database on online schools and online degree programs for graduate students.

ScholarshipPoints code: GRADREJECT

Image credit: Stepanov


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14 Responses to “How to Handle Grad School Rejection”

  1. Susan says on March 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm:

    I just received a rejection letter from a graduate Arts program. Very painful, but I won’t give up. I plan to call the Admissions people and try to find out where I went wrong so i can try next year. It’s really tough, though. A rejection is so personal. But I have to believe I something to offer….

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  2. Rebecca says on May 13, 2010 at 10:44 pm:

    Thanks. Now I know how to react when it comes to rejection. Hopefully that won't happen to me

    Reply To This Comment
  3. Cody4418 says on May 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm:

    Good tips. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply To This Comment
  4. Libbie Brinkerhoff says on May 11, 2010 at 4:23 am:

    Thank You very much. I will keep this in mind

    Reply To This Comment
  5. Madhavi says on May 8, 2010 at 5:16 am:

    I'd be scared to have to settle for an online degree… but this is good info. thanxs

    Reply To This Comment
  6. jessica says on April 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm:

    ohhh thanks

    Reply To This Comment
  7. dominique says on April 23, 2010 at 9:16 am:

    this was helpful cuz im really scared of getting rejected

    Reply To This Comment
  8. meka says on April 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm:

    thanks for the info it was very helpul

    Reply To This Comment
  9. Lauren says on April 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm:

    Overall grades tend to speak for themselves, too!

    Reply To This Comment
    • Dan says on April 20, 2010 at 11:34 am:

      But if your aim is an Ivy League school, a 4.0 GPA simply puts you on even ground with the 100 other applicants trying to enter. You need to stand out above and beyond a perfect GPA to get into the Ivy Leagues.

      Reply To This Comment
  10. Sofia says on April 15, 2010 at 2:38 am:

    One thing I did was call the admissions office and ask what I could do better. I actually wound up getting into the school right after that phone call.

    Reply To This Comment
  11. SNemo says on April 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm:

    This is really helpful. I'm planning on applying to a graduate architecture program sometime next year, and its definitely a process. But its well worth it!!

    Reply To This Comment
  12. Betty says on April 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm:

    Just as the article states –
    We don't always get exactly what we want – but do not let that stop you from pursuing your dream.

    Reply To This Comment
  13. maira72 says on April 14, 2010 at 9:09 pm:

    thanks for your information i will take it

    Reply To This Comment

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