Advice for Moms

Helping Your Kids Survive College Rejections

Me Ra Koh

Helping Your Kids Survive College Rejections – Meditations – Dallas Speaker & Author

For nine months, life has been about helping your kids survive college rejections. Pascaline has had quite the journey filled with pain, confusion, disappointment and unexpected reward. We moved Pascaline into her dorm room weekend before last.  She is one of three women in a sea of men military cadets. 

This new chapter is not what I expected for my girl

But I’m so proud of her!  This has been the most unexpected journey of twists, turns, disappointments and surprises to finding her college. 

Pascaline’s story inspires me to keep dreaming big because God always delivers the unexpected.  She gave me permission to share her unusual journey in hopes that it may encourage you to reach high this new year and new decade. 

Most college freshman start in the fall. 

That’s what we were planning for Pascaline too.  She had applied to six incredibly competitive schools, most being Ivy League.  When we found out she was put on Princeton’s deferred list, we were so excited because she was in the running! Then last spring, she got one rejection slip after another.  Not one school accepted her, and she was devastated.

Survive College Rejections

After two years of working so hard at Collin College to finish high school and her first two years of college, she had maintained a 4.0 GPA with hopes of getting into one of her dream schools.  And since she didn’t apply to any safety schools, she had nowhere to attend in the fall. 

As parents, we kicked ourselves…

for not pushing her to apply to a safety school.  Brian and I never felt so helpless as parents.  There wasn’t anyone to call or a connection we had that could give her a place to start in the fall.  Was the issue because we homeschooled her from First Grade? And yet, we’d prayed so much as a family and felt like we were encouraging her in the right direction.  Nothing made sense. 

Pascaline’s always been so confident and goal driven, but now we started watching her second guess everything and feel completely lost.  Every Sunday at church people would ask her where she was going in the fall, and I’d watch her struggle to answer.  My spiritual mentor encouraged me, saying we want our kids to go through challenging times when they’re home.  This way we can help walk them through it. 

I held on to this wisdom as my heart broke for her.     

At the time Pascaline was considering being a Liberal Arts major interested in Art History, maybe even archeology or writing.  But to apply to Princeton and Yale, you’re required to take Calculus.  She was dreading it but took Pre-Calc and did okay.  However, when she got to Calculus I something clicked for her.  She enjoyed it so much, she decided to take Calculus II as an ELECTIVE.  (Who does that?!)  And to our shock, she got 100%’s on her tests! 

When we met with her advisor at Collin College to re-strategize where to go for college, he looked at her confused.  He said, “Even though you’re a Humanities major, all your electives are Engineering based.” We were all surprised. 

Brian and I don’t come from families of…

engineers but business entrepreneurs.  Yet we had been encouraging Pascaline to consider studying something she couldn’t learn from family.  We just had no idea how different it would be!  A new path opened up to becoming an Engineering major. And the field that her brain enjoys most is Aerospace.  (I still can’t believe I’m writing this about our daughter!) 

In just a few short weeks of hearing she wasn’t accepted into any of those other schools, she had a whole new vision.  Some of the top schools in the world for Aerospace Engineering are in Texas.  She applied to Texas A&M’s competitive Engineering School and was accepted!  And if you know Pascaline, you know she goes all out. 

Helping Your Kids Survive College Rejections

If you know Pascaline, you know she goes all out!

She also decided to join the Corps of Cadets.  They are the largest, public military college teaching leadership and more. Since there aren’t many women in the Engineering field, she thought the Corps would be an amazing way to learn how to not only lead but lead men. 

And that’s how we ended up dropping her off last weekend as one of three women in a sea of men to start her hell week of training at A&M’s Corps of Cadets with the Navy/Marine squadron. 

She never would have known about her passion for…

Engineering if she wasn’t required to take Calculus when applying to Princeton and Yale.  Isn’t that amazing?  God gave her a BIG vision, and even though she thought acceptance to those schools was the end goal…He had something so much better in store.  What looked like a dead end of how to survive college rejections became a new beginning. She thought she failed, but she fell into His amazing plan!

The house is much quieter with Pascaline gone. 

Even though Blaze is still here, it’s odd to have him away at school every day after years of homeschooling.  Brian and I sometimes joke that we already feel like empty nesters.  What a change to go from traveling the world as a family to opening a local photography studio.  But it feels so good, so right.  When I look at our family portrait for 2019, I feel so thankful.  God has been so good.

How Do You Help Your Kids Survive College Rejections?

You keep believing, especially when they can’t believe for themselves, that God has a plan for them. God is creating something above and beyond what they could ever imagine. Encourage them to meet with other mentors who can echo your heart and values. Take long walks together. Let them dump and be afraid. Hold the light for them at the end of the tunnel.

Sony Camera & Luxury Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Sony RX100 vii Camera Giveaway

*To celebrate the New Year, we’re doing a BIG giveaway for a Sony camera (RX100 VII, $1299) and two $800 Luxury Gift Certificates to put towards a photographic experience with us and fine art to display in your home or office of the ones you love! Fun, right?! 

To enter, you must complete all three steps;

  1. Fill Out the Entry Form at
  2. Follow Me on Instagram
  3. Tag a friend inviting them to follow me as well in the comments of the most recent post.  * For every friend you tag and invite in a new comment during January is an extra entry to win!

*Deadline to enter is 1/31/20. We’ll pick a winner in early February! 

May you dream big in 2020 and fall into the most wonderful, unexpected results!



Family is a Work of Art

Me Ra Koh is a Professional Photographer, Speaker & bestselling Author based in Dallas, Texas. She travels nationwide inspiring audiences of creatives, women, churches and corporations.

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  1. Freida Hall says:

    Thank you, Pascaline, for letting mom share this part of your path. Vulnerability and courage for the win! You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      It’s always a gift to see your beautiful smile Freida! You are a woman of courage yourself. Thank you for sharing your kind words with Pascaline. I’ll be passing them on to her. xoxo

  2. Heather says:

    I graduated Texas A&M and loved it. It is a wonderful school. Good luck to your daughter on her new adventures.

  3. Chantale W says:

    Thanks for sharing! This was sooo touching. I enjoyed this story of self discovery.

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      You are so welcome Chantale. It was such an intense journey for Pascaline and our family, but how she grew…I wouldn’t trade it for any thing. And I think she’d say the same. xoxo

  4. Paul Gero says:

    So happy for you all!!! What a wonderful achievement….she is one great kid!!!! Warm regards and Happy New Year!!
    Paul & Nicki

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Thanks so much Paul and Nicki! It’s been quite the journey, and we’re so PROUD of her! It’s AWE-mazing to see her take flight and be so EXCITED b/c she has this deep peace that she’s exactly where she’s meant to be. xo

  5. Kaycee says:

    What a wonderful story of a wonderful girl and family. We are a military family stationed in Texas right now. And we love A&M. Their Small Animal Hospital has been absolutely incredible with our dog and his health issues. We wish all the best to your precious daughter. Thank you for all the inspiration you share.

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Thank you Kaycee! I love how you’ve had such a positive experience with them through your pets! Everything we hear about A&M is full of praise! We’re so exited to be a part of the Aggie family and have Pascaline experience it firsthand!

  6. Jane Lyon says:

    What a great story of how God stretches us! We first saw you when you visited Lake Country Church in Fort Worth. We are thrilled that Pascaline is in the College of Engineering at A&M, WHOOP! Two of our kids are 4th-gen Aggies. My husband is an advisor for his former department (Industrial & Systems Engineering), but also is a visiting lecturer to senior Aerospace Engineering students…. so perhaps in 4 years, Pascaline will attend his lecture! We are so happy for her! A&M is like no other place!!

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Hi Jane! Yes! I remember that speaking engagement well! And WOW!!! Your family is full of Aggies! How fun! It would be so amazing for Pascaline to hear one of your husband’s lectures someday! She would LOVE it!

  7. Kerry Beck says:

    Whooop! When I read your email the first place I thought was Texas A&M, which is less than one mile from my home. My home is open to you any time you come to Aggieland.

    What a marvelous God story. Thanks for sharing. BTW…our oldest started college in January after graduating from homeschool. She did it completely different from Pascaline, but God was leading the entire way.

    ps. I’m serious about the house offer.

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Less than one mile?! That is SO FUN! Thank you for all your kind words Kerry! They mean so much. And your generous offer is noted.
      I love hearing about your daughter too. We can never out plan God. We make our plans, but thank goodness He directs our steps. Right?! He is so good!

  8. Linnea says:

    Thank you for sharing! The timing is so good as I feel we keep hitting walls with our 6th grader. Why not any doors? In a time where I want his confidence to be built it just keeps getting knocked down. Such a beautiful reminder that rejection can lead to unexpected opportunity.

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Girl…I can’t even imagine that the little toddler I photographed is now a 6th grader?! Is he?!!! Is this who you are talking about?!
      And hang in there. I love what my spiritual mentor said. She knows that as parents our nature is to protect our kids from anything difficult or negative, but that is where God meets them and we help them develop all the gifts they’ll need when storms come in the future. Your little guy is going to be okay. You can email me more any time too! If I can offer any more specific encouragement, and you want to share in more detail, just email me Linnea. Truly. Always hear for you. xoxoxo

  9. Christine says:

    Such a beautiful story of hope and perseverance in the face of disappointment! And of course, how God uses all things to lead us in the path we should go! So happy for Pascaline! God bless your next venture! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Isn’t it amazing how God knew all along where she needed to be, and He took her on this merciful journey to discover more of herself than she ever thought possible? Scary at times? Yes. Overwhelming and confusing on certain days? For sure. But He’s so good Christine. So faithful. Thank you for cheering her and our family onward! xoxo

  10. Asenrab 22 says:

    I’m always left speechless when you write! No exception here. This is an amazing journey and inspiration! Go Pascaline!!

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Amy, you could make me cry with that first line. Thank you so much! You know how close writing is to my heart. And thank you for cheering Pascaline on! What a journey! xoxo

  11. Cindy Sowell says:

    Pasculine, I’m so proud of you! I can’t even imagine how proud your parents are!!! Your journey had many twists but, in the end it was incredible! Congratulations to you sweet girl!!

  12. Ellie says:

    So beautiful. I love your family and how tenderly you navigate life. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Thank you so much for these kind words Ellie. I love the word “navigate” that you used b/c that is often what it feels like. Stepping into the unknown and trusting that God is by your side always.

  13. Kerstin says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing testimony! It was encouraging! I am in a place right now where God is changing my season, I am a photographer getting into the birth photography space, while getting certification as a doula. I have a big fear of failure, but I am also learning from my little girl that is struggling on her first year playing on a basketball team. I tell her to not give up, to keep at it…. meanwhile, I need to take my own advice! God shows us things, if we are silent and willing, He has such grace with us silly people!!!! You have been inspiring to me over the 7 years, it’s been neat to see your little ones grow up the through pictures!!!!

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Wow Kerstin! What a new, WONDERFUL journey to embark on! And I know it’s so scary at times. You are not alone. Have you really been following us for 7 years? That means so much! I can’t even tell you! Thank you! What an exciting new year and decade for you! Girl, you got this! How can I encourage you more? Are you part of our Confidence FB Group? It’s called Confidence with Me Ra Koh and Brian. You’d love it. We have wonderful, sweet birth photographers in there that I’d love to introduce you to! It’s our Facebook community that is meant to surround, inspire and cheer each other on. Search for the name on Facebook and ask to be invited in (if you’re not already), and we’ll cheer you on! xoxo

  14. Julie Watts says:

    Wow! What a journey for Pascaline and you all! That’s really incredible and I’m so excited to hear what her adventures will be with this new path!!

  15. Bonnye says:

    Hi! I’m new around here but I am an Aggie Class of ‘95. I live in Bay Area Houston now and there are some exciting things happening in our region in the next few years relating to the Spaceport. I thought you might like to read about some opportunities related to aerospace engineering.

    Here’s the article.

  16. Jamie Kiles says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey! Please pass along our thanks to Pascaline for sharing hers. Peyton and I read this together! ??

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      I thought I responded to you sweet Jamie! But it looks like I didn’t, yet my heart responded to you! 🙂 I’ll definitely let Pascaline know. I’m so glad this gave to Peyton too. That means everything to hear! xo