top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

How to help your teen cope with university rejections

The UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application process can be a stressful and emotional time for teenagers and their families. The anticipation of waiting for acceptance letters can be nerve-wracking, and the disappointment of receiving a rejection letter can be devastating. As a parent, it's important to support your teen through this process and help them navigate their next steps. Here are 7 tips for supporting your teen through UCAS rejections:

1. Validate their feelings It's important to acknowledge and validate your teenager's feelings of disappointment and sadness. Let them know that it's normal to feel this way and that you understand their disappointment.

2. Encourage them to take time to process their feelings Give your teen time to process their feelings and come to terms with the rejection. Encourage them to talk to their friends and family about their feelings and to engage in activities that they enjoy.

3. Help them to refocus After your teenager has had time to process their feelings, help them to refocus on their next steps. Have they been rejected by one or all of their university choices? Can they apply for additional courses through UCAS Extra? Perhaps they may want to focus on their revision and wait until they have their results before applying to new courses through Clearing. Remind your teen that, whilst a university rejection is disappointing and can feel personal, they still have options.


Build your teen's mental resilience with our quick fixes and long term solutions:


4. Encourage them to stay positive It's important to remind your teen that a university rejection is not the end of the world. Encourage them to stay positive and to keep an open mind about their future options. Even if they've been rejected by their first choice university, help them find positives in others. Do they offer different modules that could be more beneficial to their chosen career route? Are they closer to home or in a more interesting part of the country?

Spend some time with your teen focusing on the choices that they do have so that they can start to feel excited about their new possibilities.

7. Support them in their decision Ultimately, the decision of what to do next is up to your teenager. It's important to support them in their decision, whether they choose to take a year out, attend a different university, or explore alternative options.

8. Seek professional guidance Sometimes, it can be difficult for parents to provide the guidance and support needed during such a stressful time. Consider seeking professional guidance from a school counsellor or career advisor who can provide an objective perspective and support your teenager in making their next steps.

The Parents' Guide to helping your child stand out from the crowd

Improve their confidence in interviews

If you’d like to know how your teen can stand out from others and improve their chances of success at interviews, read our suggestions in The Parents’ Guide to Standing out from the crowd. It includes sections on:

  • Self-development;

  • Getting work experience (including virtual placements);

  • Benefits of research and how to take a different approach;

  • How different hobbies impact mental and physical health

  • Transferrable skills;

  • Recommendations for non-curricular online courses.


We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius -


bottom of page