Dealing with College Rejections
After numerous drafts of personal statements and numerous cries of mental pain, you finally submitted your college applications – still remembering that feeling you got when you finally pressed that “SUBMIT” button. While some of us rejoiced and celebrated with a tub of Dreyer’s Rocky Road ice-cream (that was me!), others faced high levels of anxiety as now they would have to wait several more months to hopefully see the word “Congratulations” and definitely not, “We regret to inform you…” You know how the rest of that statement goes.
However, I do not want to look at college rejections the same way most people do. Like the flyer posted outside my college counselor’s door, “It’s not a rejection; it’s a redirection.” As cliché as that statement might sound, but it is so true! Of course, any type of rejections suck and it is a bruise to your ego given that you thought you scored “high enough” on your SATs and/or ACTs, accomplished 100+ of community service hours, participated in two varsity sports, and had a good GPA. Therefore, it will not be something you can easily brush off your shoulders when you find out you were rejected to your dream school – a school you initially thought you had a shot at. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that if you happen to receive a rejection letter, IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD for you even though at that very moment you feel like it just did.
It Was Out of Your Control
College rejections should not be taken personally as college admission officers’ intentions were not to crush your dreams, but rather they were also looking at factors outside the student’s control. Lee Coffin, the Deans of Admissions at Tufts University wrote, “We assessed personality as well as performance. We noted potential as well as achievement. We valued creativity, collaboration, citizenship and kindness, to name a few of the many qualitative and often intangible characteristics that guided our decision-making.” Notice how the word intangible is italicized because factors such as socio-economic status, geographic diversity, and legacy status are factored in as well.
At the end of the day, you were not admitted because the college did not like who you are as a person, but due to “a scarcity of spaces.”
Just a Redirection
Let’s just say that you were rejected from your top choice and have cried it all out and ate your feelings away. Now it is time to start redirecting your energy towards schools you did get accepted to. When we become fixated on getting into one school, we sometimes overlook other equally amazing schools and the abundance of valuable resources they offer. At the end of the day, I like to emphasize that if you end up at your second or third choice college, maybe your initial rejection is just a blessing in disguise as you will be surprised at how much you will like it at your so-called “back-up” school. Regardless, just remember that college is what you make of it and if you come to terms that your college “rejection” is merely just a “redirection,” the next four years of your life will be the most transformative, liberating and challenging times of your life and I hope you have no regrets along the way.
For all it’s worth, I have faced countless rejections before finding myself committed to Pomona College Class of 2020. Even though I have yet to experience the “college life” as I am still a senior in high school, I know for a fact that it is up to me to make my college experience the way I want it to be and let me tell you, I am so excited!