What to do if poor board results prevent you from getting into your preferred college

Published On: 29th November 2021 | Updated On: 23rd November 2023

For many students, getting into a good college is a top priority. But, sometimes, despite working extremely hard, they may not score enough marks to get into their preferred college. If you haven’t received the percentile you expected, and are worried about not making it to your desired college, here’s what you need to hear - It’s okay.

The feeling of not getting into the college of your dreams can be devastating. But it is not the end of the world! So many wonderful colleges out there might not have been on your initial list but demand some consideration.   

Do some more research and choose a college that will accept you and when you get there, take every opportunity to be the best in your classes and chosen field. Then, with your passion and commitment, become an inspiration to your classmates. 

In the latest edition of Conversations with Rakesh, Rakesh Godhwani, Founder & CEO of SoME, says college is one of the many rides we will take in the amusement park called life. If you don’t fit into one college, there will be others who may not have a flashy reputation but still provide you with good education and lifelong friendships. Ultimately, it is not about which college you have been to; it is how you have used your education to make the world a better place. Don’t beat yourself up over your marks, and instead, focus on the next chapter of your life.  

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Following is the edited transcript of the video. 




Here’s today’s question - Sir, I had scored 80% in my boards. Many of my friends got 90% or more. Will this reduce my chances of getting into my dream college where they will not take students below 90%? What do I do?’ 

This question goes to the heart of all the UG programme problems. Many colleges have specific criteria based on which they encourage students to apply, like the 10th and 12th marks. There are stories of how despite getting 99 per cent, students don’t get into these colleges. This is an unfortunate reality. Let me give you a personal anecdote to explain what is happening. 

Think different 

The Wonderla amusement park in Bengaluru is a personal favourite of both my son and me. We would go there often alone since my daughters are too young to enjoy amusement parks. When my son was in the third standard, we went there for the first time. He was so excited that he ran to the most famous and dangerous ride the moment we entered the park.

We stood in line, and as we reached the ride, the ticket checker looked at my son, turned to me and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you read there is a certain criterion of height and weight that everyone needs to meet, your son is too small for such a ride. We can’t let him go up, but you can go’. I pointed out that I couldn’t possibly go without my son, but they refused to budge. He measured my son’s height to show me the difference between that and what was acceptable. The difference was huge! My son, irate and upset, said, ‘I’m as good as anybody else; why would you not let me go up?’ And the person calmly explained that due to my son’s small frame, he could slip through, fall from the ride and seriously injure himself. My son didn’t care for this logic and started crying.

Now let’s take your question. I think in many ways you are like my son who wants to get on that forbidden ride. You have decided that you will go only to this college which is the most difficult to get in, despite the criteria that you should have 90 per cent or more.  

This is a good time for you to accept the reality that maybe you will not get into your preferred college. 

After my son spent a few hours crying and being grumpy, he realised that the day would end in a few hours and that he shouldn’t waste his remaining afternoon sulking. So he sat on the next ride where he could fit and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then he started getting on all the other rides he was allowed on and had a great time!  

By five o’clock, my son changed from being a sad little boy to a bundle of happiness and said, ‘Papa, I had a great time!’ 

In other words, there are millions of rides and ways to utilise your time in this big amusement park called life. Your preferred college is just one of the many rides, and if you don’t fit there, get on some other ride and enjoy the journey. 

Change your plans 

Choosing a different college may cause heartburn because your dream has been shattered, which can be extremely painful. But this is the reality, my friend. Accept it. 

Search for a college that can give you a good education. While zeroing in on an alternate college, look at the faculty, their alumni, and how good their labs are, among others. Maybe some years later, you can probably go to your dream college for post-graduation or a PhD if you are still keen on having these trophy colleges on your resume. 

It is normal for us to get enamoured by renowned colleges and big things in life because of the recognition we will get from it. Who wouldn’t want to show off their fantastic alumnus status? It gives us tremendous respect in society, and we get peer respect and appreciation.   

But these are short-term benefits that won’t matter 20 years from now. Nobody will bother about which college you went to. Instead, they will care about what you have done with your education and how you have used it to make an impact. That’s what you need to start thinking about. 

So your class 12 scores are not as good as you expected. What can you do? Write your boards again? Maybe and that is your choice.  

Or, you can treat this as a wake-up call, which sometimes can be painful but are essential because they make us realise reality. Sometimes that reality is not what we want or dream of, but it should be accepted and worked with. That is an excellent approach to life. When you do that, you make peace with life and tackle your challenges better.  

Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda articulates it best when he says, ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift, and that’s why it’s called a present.’ 

I can’t do anything with my past, it’s gone, and I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I can control my today. So work with what you have today, which will help plan a better future. 

Watch the video on YouTube.

-Angela Victor 

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