By Steve Rosen

You're upset. You're disappointed. After waiting four stress-filled months to hear from that dream school, your teenager didn't get the news she was hoping for.

What can you do about it?

Fire back your own letter.

Many colleges and universities actually encourage you to do just that, and in a very public way -- online.

Through Facebook, discussion boards, blogs and other social media outlets, admissions officers are feeling the heat from frustrated and angry parents and students this month at the height of college rejection-letter season. Of course, schools are also hearing from those thanking their lucky stars for being selected.

Most of the online sites are set up and monitored by the schools. It's a useful way for admissions officials to respond quickly, correct misinformation, explain the selection process and provide context for the decisions.

If your school doesn't offer open dialogue, you can also vent at a growing number of independent websites and blogs, such as College Confidential, MyChances and Collegeview.

Some of the comments can be quite poignant. Others are worthy of a few chuckles that will help take the stress levels down a notch or two.

In that vein, I searched more than three dozen college websites to gauge the pulse of parents and prospective college students as admissions season rolls toward its May 1 wrap-up for final decisions. A sample of the online give-and-take:

From a parent of an applicant to the College of William & Mary:

"Rest assured that your request for an alumni donation was reviewed, in its entirety, at least twice and was evaluated in the context of the entire request pool. This year I received a number of requests for donations and those making the requests, yourself included, have amazing credentials. I regret that I can't give to every school and therefore must choose to give to the school that actually offered my daughter admission. I wish you all the best in your future fundraising efforts."

The school's response: "Fair enough. ... No doubt decisions are received with heightened feelings when the student's family has a connection to the college."

From an applicant at the University of North Carolina:

"I don't understand how someone with a 4.0 grade point average (4.13 weighted), thousands of hours of extracurricular activities, and hundreds of hours of community service doesn't get accepted to the University of North Carolina. If that's not the type of student you are looking for, then what is?"

The school's response: "We're very sorry that we disappointed you. This year we received nearly 24,000 applications for admission, and unfortunately, we had to turn away many great students who would be successful here."

From an applicant at the University of Virginia:

"I'm trying to hold myself from feeling crushed, even though I just wasted all of my high school working towards and constantly thinking about getting into the university.

The school's response: "I'm sorry you're having a hard time, but please don't think you've wasted your high school years. You are going to be just fine and you are going to do wonderful things."

And finally, a rejection letter posted not by a college, but by a student, on the website:

"Dear Admissions Committee,

Having reviewed the many rejection letters I have received in the last few weeks, it is with great regret that I must inform you I am unable to accept your rejection at this time. ..."




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