First of all, I’m really sorry. It can be devastating. You wanted to attend that college so much that you were willing to commit. And they rejected you. There are no two ways about it: It is painful. You imagined yourself putting the name of that institution on your resume for the rest of your life. Now, what will go in that spot is unknown.
Let yourself grieve. It’s a loss like many others. Kübler-Ross’s model of grief has five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In your case, you are probably alternating between sadness and anger. Right now, anger is the most useful (not that you can control how you move through the stages). Get pissed off. Scream, cry, rant, and rave. They didn’t want you as much as you wanted them. They don’t know what they are missing out on. It’s their loss, not yours. They are over you. Now you get over them. Hrmph. Get it all out. Because, as a high school student who needs to get admitted somewhere, you unfortunately don’t have a lot of time to get moving again. (Be sure to gather all the swag you accumulated and donate it to your favorite charity.)
Now, time to regroup, go back to the drawing board, and get on with it. This is the perfect opportunity to revisit the list of schools. You have learned a lot since you applied to your (now hated) ED choice. You can use that knowledge to your advantage to complete the college application process at this point.
Now, pay yourself on the back. You have overcome a rejection and moved on. Celebrate. Hug your parents. And be proud of how well you have done.
You are so close to going home and getting some well-deserved rest, good food, and enjoying general merriment. But between now and then, a single-minded approach is the best so that you can finish strong.
For many years, as a dean at three Ivy League colleges and now as an AVP at a university with an extraordinary mission, I have had a front row seat to the obstacles to success that college students and their parents confront every year. Even at so-called elite, highly selective colleges such as Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia, where I spent some of my career, students struggle on a daily basis to remain healthy, happy, grounded, and to stay in school. I am dedicated to helping them.