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To All The Other College Rejects

I felt like the world was crashing down around me when I saw the words "I regret to inform you..".

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It's Application Season

December 20th, 2016.

I was rejected from my dream school on Monday, December 19th. It’s a peculiar feeling, actually. I had spent the past two years of my life preparing myself for the application season, I had done interviews and visits, and (in a stupid and presumptuous move) I fantasized about my life at the school. I was (still am) so sure that this school was the perfect place for me, but the school didn’t think I was a good fit for them. I won’t go into the specifics of my application, because it doesn’t matter anymore.

Opening that rejection letter felt like my entire world was crashing down around me. I couldn’t read past the sentence starting with “I regret to inform you…”. I was numb. I cried my eyes out next to my mom, who hugged me and told me everything was going to be okay. I didn’t think so. I felt like all that extra effort and time I put into this application was wasted. What was the point? I couldn’t achieve my biggest goal.

I had always been prideful. It hurts when everyone around you tells you that you have a decent shot of getting into the school of your dreams, and then the college tells you, “no”. So, when I told all of my friends, who have told me countless times during the course of the past year that I’ll get in, of my rejection, I was surprised by the love and understanding they extended to me. My best friend delivered me ice cream and listened to me cry and rant the entire night.

This morning, I made the conscious decision to reject my dream school. Now I’m a strong believer in fate and the universe. It took me an entire night to come to the conclusion that maybe the school wasn’t a right fit for me. I had spent so long focusing on the college and researching every tiny detail they had to offer, and perhaps I overlooked the fact that I wouldn’t have been happy there if the fantasy didn’t meet the reality.

To everyone who put themselves out there this application season,

To all the other students out there who have applied to their dream school using one of the early programs, if you got in, congratulations! You’ve worked hard and it paid off. To all the others who may have felt the same crushing feeling as me, just know that you’re not alone.

I’ve been resilient in my life so far, and it’s one of the few traits I actually take pride in, so it only took me a night of inconsolable sobbing to get over the fact that I’ve been denied from my dream school. I’ve finished 4 other applications in the two nights since the rejection, and I’m sure that I’ll find my place at another school.

To all of those students and people out there who may have had their entire fantasy future denied, you’re not alone. The college admissions process is competitive, and leaves many people feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed, even more so if you’re applying to a top school.

I know that my future isn’t over because of one single rejection letter, however crushing it may be. It’s hard to have your planned vision for the future disturbed, but it’s not the end of the world. Everything you’ve worked for, every single night you put in studying for an exam or writing an essay, every time you decided to work for the grade you want, will only add to your character and drive. Everything will be alright. If you’ve been rejected and feel like everything you’ve worked for in the past four years is in vain, it isn’t.

If you applied to a top school, the numbers may have been stacked against you from the very beginning. If you didn’t achieve perfection in your grades or test scores, you may have been in a place of disadvantage. If you have family issues or mental health problems, the odds may have been against you. Many factors go into admissions, including ethnicity, location, and parents’ educations. There are some things that you can’t change.

These feelings are normal.

Casey Chen. I only drew one image because, well, I should be working on college apps.

You may feel bitter looking at the college’s social media, I sure know I did, when I saw the post congratulating the incoming class of 2021. You may feel resentful at the emails and packages you’ve received and may interpret them as the college leading you on. You may feel insecure about your application and credentials, I know I looked over my application, trying to pick out where I may have gone wrong. This isn’t the end, though. These feelings are normal, and I would be lying if I said I was completely okay with being rejected.

However, these aren’t reasons to give up your pursuit for a higher education. Find a goal and keep working towards it, however small and insignificant it may seem. It may be just holding on until graduation to spend time with friends, it may be to get all As or Bs, it may be to create something meaningful to yourself. It will be worth it in the end.

It’s only December, and I’m sure that eventually we’ll all find where we’re supposed to be. For now, work hard and continuing chasing whatever it is you’re after

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