Denial, Deferral, Anything but Rejection

I post a version of this every year because the language we use impacts our emotions as well as our actions.


While I've always believed that, the idea really resonated with me a few years ago. A teacher in my Spinning continuing education course said, "Never tell students to raise their 'tension! Say 'Turn up your resistance' instead." We all laughed and got her message. Why would I want to add tension to someone's workout when they were already increasing the workload to their heart, lungs, legs, and minds? We accept the challenge of working against resistance, while we avoid tension whenever possible.


Last year, I noticed that many of my students informed me about college decisions with the words, "I was rejected from ________." This distressed me because that term has never been the language used in higher education. Admissions officers typically say that "a student was denied." "Rejection" gives a blow to the ego that is not even precise, and here's why:


When a student is not offered admission or deferred, especially to a competitive college, it's generally not because they did not qualify, but because too many qualified students applied. Therefore, denials and deferrals should never be taken personally (provided the student had the profile the college seeks) because they are simply part of college enrollment strategies.


Let’s not use “rejected!” And let's remember that "high school" is two words (my pet peeve in this year's essays).

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