A college rejection can be tough to process.

It’s hard not to feel personally hurt or feel sad that you won’t live on a campus you imagined. But rejections are part of the process—remember that even schools that have an admissions rate in the 50th percentile means that 50% of people who apply won’t get in. Once you’ve gotten over the initial sting, here’s how you can bounce back.

Talk With Friends and Family

It’s okay to feel mad or disappointed if you’ve been rejected from a college. Chances are, you’re not the only one who feels that way. While it can be tempting to hide your disappointment, talk it out with others. Some communities and high schools hold college rejection parties—at one high school in California, for example, the student who gets the most rejections wins a gift card. Commiserating with peers can help put things in perspective: Rejection is a part of life; the worst thing that can happen is that you’re told no.

Visit Your Accepted Schools

Talk to students, sit in on a class, and ask the admissions officers any questions you may have. This can help you replace any images you had of yourself at your rejected school with images of schools you’ve been accepted to. If you can, visit your colleges during admitted students weekend. These weekends are packed with things to do, and hearing current students and staff congratulate you on getting in can make you feel proud of your accomplishments.

Assess Your Options

If you’re not happy with your accepted schools, it can be a good time to talk with your high school counselor about a plan B. In some cases, colleges will consider an appeal. An appeal is worth a shot if you had significant changes in your record, or you had an oversight in your application materials (for example, you submitted the wrong version of your essay).

If that doesn’t work, you still have potential paths to pursue, such as applying to community college, taking a gap year, or finding a job that enhances your application for next year. There also may be universities with rolling admissions you could consider, or schools that would consider your application for winter enrollment.

Consider Transferring in the Future

A rejection doesn’t necessarily mean “not forever.” It means “not now.” If a school is truly your dream school, consider the steps it might take to apply as a transfer in the future. This will mean working hard your freshman year and connecting with the admissions office of your dream school to see if they have any tips or pointers for how to enhance your résumé. You also might be able to attend summer classes at the school of your choice, which can be a way to experience the school and earn course credits simultaneously.

Of course: A rejection can sting. But assessing your options can help you to feel empowered in your choices. Looking forward and building a plan can help you get beyond the “no’s” and feel excited about all the “yeses” in your life.

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