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Unigo.com Expert Network: The Dreaded College Rejection Letter, What Can You Do?

03/28/2011 02:47 pm ET | Updated May 28, 2011

High school seniors across the country will be receiving their college admissions letters this week, and with the dramatic increase in the number of applications this year many can expect to get the dreaded "thin envelope."

This week's question asks:

"I was rejected from my top choice school and wait-listed at my second choice. What do I do? How should I choose amongst my backup schools?"

To have your questions answered visit www.unigo.com/expertnetwork

Maura Kastberg"Being wait listed is not the end" Indicate to the college that if you are chosen you will attend. No response causes them to drop you from their list. If there has been significant improvement in any part of your record since you applied, ask a teacher or counselor to confirm this in writing, then let the college know. Do not pressure the college with calls or letters. To cover your bases, make a deposit at a college that has offered to accept you. You may have to forfeit the deposit if you are accepted later at your preferred school. If this was your reach school you may not want to be in academic competition at this college. You may ultimately be happier somewhere else.

- Maura Kastberg - VP of Client Services, CFAS

Mark Montgomery"Allow yourself to fall in love all over again" Infatuation is not a great way to choose a spouse. Or a college. Better to have some fundamental criteria of compatibility. Assuming that you began the college selection process in a relatively rational way, you can now return to those criteria as you research the colleges that have indicated you are a great fit for them.  Those criteria will also help you ask better questions when you correspond with members of that college community. It also helps to get on the Facebook page created for new admits:  you'll find plenty of people over the moon about being accepted to that college. The enthusiasm can be infectious, and you may find yourself falling in love. For real.

- Mark Montgomery - Founder, Montgomery Educational Counseling

Farron Peatross"Rejected, Waitlisted, Anxious, Rethinking? Get Your Swagger Back!" First, consult with your independent or school counselor or the college to determine if there is more information that you could submit to help your waitlist position. Perhaps, new grades, activities, situations that have changed, or letters of recommendation that were not included in your initial application? Then reconsider your remaining choices with a campus visit, if time permits, or by communicating with students on campus for their opinions/reviews. Rate the colleges based on your impressions of academic and student compatibility, major/career preparedness, geography, financial commitment, extracurricular activities, and other categories important to you. Trust your instincts!

- Farron Peatross - Educational Consultant, EduCPlanner.com

Patricia Tamborello"Know the bottom line when comparing packages!" All financial aid packages are not created equal. It is important to separate the types of aid given to you. Make a comparison sheet by listing gift aid (grants and scholarships) from self-help monies (loans and work-study) to first see if one college has awarded you more "free" aid. Then, subtract the total aid awarded by the actual cost of attending the college. If your financial aid letter does not list the total cost, you might have to go the college's website to find that number. The difference between your total aid and the cost of attendance is an important dollar figure to know when deciding between schools.

- Patricia Tamborello- College Counselor, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

Amy Greenwald Foley"Crossing a name off your list is a good thing" Since finding the right college is about finding the right fit, you'll need to "try on" many.  Schools you liked online or in your guidance office may not feel the same in person.   Do your homework, selecting schools with majors that interest you most.  Then, get out there and visit.  We all have classrooms, libraries, residence halls, dining halls, gyms, and more.  What is most important is how you feel about the place.  Do you like the size? location? vibe?  If not, cross that school off your list and move on.

- Amy Greenwald Foley - Sr. Associate Director of Admissions, University of Delaware

Hear from 31 more experts - including the VP of The College Board, Dean of Admissions from University of Illinois, and more at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork

Were you rejected or wait-listed from your first choice? How did you or how are you dealing with it? Comment and let us know!