It is so, so upsetting to get “the small envelope”. You have put in a tremendous amount of energy, effort, and time to give yourself a chance at the top-tier. Everyone sees that. But please remember that’s all it was — a chance. Top-tier schools accept 4-15% of their applicants, which means that 75-96% of applicants don’t get in. You did not get in, and many, many others did not get in. This is not because you are not good enough, nor because you aren’t worthy of attending the top tier; it’s because the numbers weren’t on your side. A fact that is completely out of your control.
So, no, you didn’t receive “the big envelope”. You’re allowed to be upset. But look at it from a different perspective: As you reached for the top, you made yourself an unbelievable person. You spent hours studying, learning new languages, leading your fellow students, playing the violin, programming video games, volunteering with vulnerable children, collecting Covid supplies, cleaning beaches, etc. And you know what? That matters.
You’re still in the top percentile of highschoolers around the world. You will still get into schools that millions of other students only dream of. Heck, you may even find some financial aid because of it. But most importantly, you’ve developed skills, qualities, and an outlook that is beyond your peers — skills, qualities, and outlook that will make you successful in life, no matter where you attend school.
So: 1) Be proud of yourself. You have every reason to be. And 2) What are you going to do now so that you win next time?