How To Deal with Placement Rejection During University

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A placement year at university is the perfect chance for you to have a sample of working life in a job or career path that interests you, it can also be the perfect foot in the door for a specific job role that you have your eye on after university and which your studies are aimed at.  

What if you receive a placement rejection? At the time any rejection can feel terrible and that it will certainly derail your future prospects. This isn’t the case, and this guide will help you deal with placement rejection and still have the bright future you deserve. 

Before we get to how to deal with a placement rejection, let’s first look at what a placement is and how undertaking a placement can benefit you. 

Placement year


What is a placement? 

 For some students they will have the chance to take a year out from university study to take on an industry placement. This involves heading out to everyday life for work experience in a specific industry, role, or company that you are interested in as a career. A placement usually lasts a full academic year and can be found across all sectors. 

The best time to begin the application process for a placement is between September and May in your second year of university. This should give you enough time to find the right role for you, whatever the reasons behind your desire for a placement year. Most universities will assist you in this search, either with direct contacts to companies or through advice and suggestions on how to go about your search and application.  

Benefits of a placement at university 

There is a huge benefit to seeking a placement at university. It opens your mind up to a whole new way of thinking and working, gaining invaluable practical experience to go alongside the studies you’ve been working hard at. 

  • Gain practical experience – No matter how well you perform academically and with the books, nothing beats good old-fashioned practical experience. The world of work is the best way to see what you like and don’t like about a certain industry. 
  • Improve your CV – Building your CV is a crucial part of your early years as an adult. Your qualifications look great, but you do need real-world experience alongside your academic results. Although regular work of any kind looks good on a CV, a placement year shows specific experience. 
  • Apply what you have studied – If you enjoy what you’ve been studying, your work placement gives you a chance to apply your newly-gained knowledge and test yourself with real-life results. 
  • Develop your skills – There are skills you’ll learn and develop during your work placement that you can’t in the classroom. This includes time management, communication with management and colleagues, teamwork, project work etc. 
  • Application process experience – Once you leave university, you’ll be applying for either post-graduate courses or jobs. Your work placement gives you the perfect experience of the application process, job interviews and the art of learning to deal with rejection. Not only this, but you’ll stand out from other people during the application process because of your experience. 

Working on a placement



What do I do if I suffer a placement rejection? 

It can feel disheartening to be rejected from your placement application when at university. You’ll have worked hard to find the right post that suits what you’re looking for, within the right industry, for real-life skill development and experience. So, what happens when you get rejected, and then again by another application? 

The first thing we’d recommend is to stay calm. It’s completely understandable to have a little flap at first, as it’s not nice to be rejected. As in many other forms of life though, rejection is the norm and success for any person comes through playing the numbers. It is extremely rare that a person only ever has to do only one application to get a dream job. It takes time, application and interview practice, and luck.  

Our top tips to remember: 

  • Rejection is not about you! – The company you’ve applied for a placement with will have received countless applications from other university students. They are looking for the right fit too. A placement rejection never reflects the hard work you’ve put in or your self-worth.  
  •  You can ask for advice from your university – Speak to your university as soon as you can once you have suffered a placement rejection. If a placement is a compulsory part of your degree, you will have support at every stage of the process. Your university is there to support you, to explore other placement options, including campus-based projects or schemes that can be used instead of a placement in some cases. 
  • You can seek alternative sources of placements If you’ve missed out on your main placement, think about what you wanted to achieve and how you can do this by other means. It might be possible to gain work experience and skills through shorter placements throughout the year, combining those with studies, part-time work, or voluntary positions within your desired industry.  
  • To keep going – All you can do is buckle down, stay focused and keep moving forward. It feels bad at the time, but rejection is not the end of the world. You need to dust yourself down, look at your options, see where you can improve and move on. 
  • Stay calm – The biggest thing we’ll say about dealing with a placement rejection during university is to stay calm. We understand that it hurts to be rejected in any part of your life, but especially something as important as a work placement that could make a difference to your future career.  
  • Take a step back – Explore your options, look for alternative placements and speak to your university about how they can help. You’ll find that every door closed sees another one open and there are countless ways in which you can gain vital experience that will help you on your way.  

Tips to remember


Finally, remember to stay focused on your studies throughout, making the most of your student accommodation to rest, work hard, and enjoy your time at university whilst seeking the best placement option. 

If you liked reading this, you should read our Why Social Media Is Just A Highlight Reel blog next! 

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