Some people submit their college applications not knowing where they will end up. They try for some reach schools and some safe schools, hoping for multiple acceptances and the chance to make a choice between options. For them, rejections are tough, but there’s always a plan B. But some students know exactly where they will end up – there is only one school they want to attend, and they have been working towards it for years. Commenter K.K was one of those, and wrote in to describe what happens when that plan goes wrong:
Yale was my dream school since junior high. I worked very hard in order to get perfect scores in school which I did. I did great and was extremely involved in extracurriculars. I always dreamed of graduating from Yale some day. Every night, when I was so tired but needed some motivation to study, I would take Yale’s brochure and look longingly at it. That would motivate me to push myself to the extreme.
I aced the SAT’s with above 2000+ scores. I got excellent recommendations from teachers. In fact, I stretched myself beyond my limit. But when decisions arrived, I was rejected. For over three hours, I was numb. When it finally hit me that all my toil came to nothing, I broke down and cried and cried and cried. I had missed all the fun in high school for Yale. I had sacrificed my time, my energy, my joy, my happiness, my good times, and my life for Yale. But, it was a waste.
It’s been two weeks now since I realised that I was never going to be good enough for Yale. I know I will never heal from this pain but I will still carry on with my life. I am not sure what the future holds for me right now but I am sure of one thing; that I will always wake up each morning to painfully realise that I wasted all my high school years preparing for a ‘We regret to inform you…..’ letter from my dream school, Yale.
This was the response from Student Union editor Jessica (who is old enough to have some perspective on the college admissions process, but not so old she’s forgotten what it feels like):
I’m so sorry. I know it’s difficult to get rejected from your dream school. I can guarantee you one thing though, you will heal from the pain.
You will go to another school that is very good, find your niche there, and thrive, just as you would have done at Yale. You will spend 4 years learning alongside other fascinating students, growing as you experience life as an independent adult, and stretching yourself by studying new subjects and trying new extracurricular activities (just as you would have done at Yale). You will meet incredible people, some of whom will remain your best friends for the rest of your life, and some of whom will be incredibly important to you but eventually fade from your life (just as you would have done at Yale). And you will appreciate all that hard work you did in high school, because you will already know how to push yourself to your limits, and you will be able to choose when to push yourself and when to slack off (a luxury some of your classmates, who are being overwhelmed for the first time, will not have).
You will graduate and enter the real world, and from the second you start your first job you will work alongside some people who went to Yale and others who went to community college, all of whom all succeed or fail on their own merits, not the merits of the schools they went to. And guess what? Rarely will anyone ever ask you where you went to college, except as a way to make small talk when they don’t know what else to say.
Going to one particular school does not guarantee you success or happiness, just as not going to that school does not condemn you to failure or misery. What will guarantee your success or misery, however, is how you deal with this moment right now – whether you let this rejection affect how you see everything that happens from now on, or whether you let yourself find fulfillment in a new life plan.
Can you relate to K.K? How did you feel when you received your admissions decisions?