What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

FAQs About Why You Got Rejected on Ivy Day

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Elias Miller, Shravya Kakulamarri, and Hale Jaeger in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.


What’s Covered



When it finally comes time to get your admissions decision, you’ll probably be nervous. If you are rejected after putting in so much time and hard work, it might feel devastating, especially if it’s a school that you want to attend. You’ll probably be wondering why you got rejected and won’t know whom to talk to about it. If that’s the case, this article can answer common questions that you might have after facing rejection from your dream schools.


Why Do Schools Reject Students?


It’s easy to take rejection hard. It’s emotionally trying to deal with, especially when it’s something specific, such as a school that you cared about. Maybe you have friends who go there, maybe your parents went there, or maybe it’s been your dream school since you were a little kid. Not getting in can feel personal. 


But you shouldn’t take it that way. It just might not be the right time or the right place. It could be that someone else was a better fit, or it might have been something random in your application that rubbed an admissions officer the wrong way. Sometimes, it’s arbitrary.


College admissions officers are invested in accepting students whom they feel confident are going to excel and take full advantage of the opportunities and resources available to them at that particular school.


If they think that your values don’t align with the college’s values or that you’re not driven in a way academically that will allow you to succeed at their school, they might not want you to attend. They want students who are going to involve themselves fully on campus and in academics. If they think that you’re not going to fit in well at their school, this could play a role in your ultimate admissions decision.


How Do Admissions Officers Decide If You’ll Be a Good Fit?


Admissions officers assess your application based on whether they can see where you fit into their overall class and if they think that they have a place for you. They want to feel certain that you and your values align with the values that they associate with their student body.


People get rejected for all sorts of reasons, and fit could be one of them. You’ll never know this, of course, but an admissions officer might be doing you a favor by rejecting you if they truly don’t think that you’ll be a good fit at their school. You wouldn’t be happy there and you wouldn’t enjoy your college experience. While an admissions committee isn’t the ultimate authority on you and what you like, they do know the school better than almost anybody else because they’re involved intimately in making it the way that it is.


Due to that knowledge, they have the capacity to make these judgments. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to go somewhere you do fit in, a place where you’ll be able to take advantage of everything that the school has to offer. You’ll be able to truly enjoy your time, building valuable connections and relationships.


Can Schools Reject Students on a Whim? 


It’s crucial that you always proofread your work. Check to make sure you haven’t included any grammar or spelling mistakes or written the wrong school name in your essay. These are things that could get you rejected, seemingly on a whim; someone will read what you’ve written and think that you didn’t take the time to polish it.


It can be more arbitrary than that, however. There’s a famous psychology study where the likelihood of a judge granting someone parole was correlated with their blood sugar. It all depended on whether they’d eaten recently and how good they felt. So, if your admissions officer is having a bad day or week or if something in your application triggers something negative from their past, they might not look well on you. It’s unfortunate, but the people reading your application are human. They have biases, and their judgment might not always be clear.


What Should Students Do If They Get Rejected on Ivy Day?


To high schoolers, college might feel like the be-all and end-all. You might think that if you can just get into that one program, that one school, your career will go a certain way, and everything will work out well for you.


In retrospect, college isn’t everything that you might think it will be. Getting into a good college doesn’t mean everything is set for you, and not getting into one doesn’t mean everything’s not good for you.


In college, you’ll still have to do well. You’ll still need to perform well in your classes and succeed at the work that you do. It’s easier to do all of this if you’re enjoying your time. That will be essential if you want to have a good enough GPA to get into grad school or have enough time to participate in meaningful extracurricular activities that will help you pursue a certain career.


It’s not just about getting into and then attending the most selective school that you can. It’s about getting into and attending a school where you will excel and truly thrive. Much of that is based on fit, what you like to do, and how much you’re going to enjoy your time at college. Take that seriously rather than trying to get into the best-ranked universities.