By COLLEEN GAPUZAN
Dear Reader, with genuine regret we are disappointed to inform you…
During the month of March, admission decisions from many public and private universities are released, and while some students rejoice at their acceptance into top universities, others hopelessly despair when they discover they are not admitted to the ultimate school of their dreams.
To many high school seniors, their college decisions solely determine whether or not their four long years of late nights and hard work were worthwhile and seeing the infamous rejection letter seemingly negates all their effort and instills the sense that they are “not good enough” for a particular college.
Rather than viewing rejections as stumbling roadblocks, university rejections should be taken as a learning experience or a driving force for a person to keep improving.
Firstly, students should realize that they are not alone. Even though it might seem like the “end of the world,” many students across the nation are also denied admission to at least one of the colleges that they applied to. Although many might feel that their rejection is uncommon and take it personally, students should realize that there are still various opportunities for success later on. Besides, many students who were rejected from their dream colleges have achieved notable successes. For example, Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Cinema Arts and instead studied at California State University Long Beach. Nonetheless, he managed to receive over 100 awards, including three Oscars. Regardless of his initial rejection, he was still able to overcome his setbacks and attained tremendous fame, success and respect in his field.
Unfortunately, within the first few hours of rejection, many students get caught up in blaming themselves and pondering “what if” questions as to why they were not admitted. What if I participated in more clubs? What if I had a higher GPA? As a result, students can easily become trapped in a never-ending rabbit hole of hypothetical situations. Yet, students must realize that their rejection was not personal and may have to do with a limited number of spots a university can offer. Those so-called “what if’s” will not change the admission decisions, so why mull over on things you cannot change? Instead of immediately beating yourself up as to why you were not accepted, focus on the benefits. College and university rejections should be a call to learn, improve and grow.
For instance, I have a number of senior friends who have already received rejection letters. At first, they felt incredibly disappointed and had immense difficulty processing the unfortunate reality, but instead of dwelling in denial and sulking in their rooms, they chose to stay positive and work past their discouragement. Many of my friends also applied to numerous other colleges and universities, which helped them obtain plenty of options and maintain a hopeful outlook into their future. Essentially, while being denied your first choice or dream school is tough, students should look forward to the myriad of opportunities still available to them.
With this in mind, another actuality that students should grasp is that their top college may not be the best school for them. Take, for example, a student who has been eyeing on Harvard’s medical program since he or she was young. Fast forward to when the student receives a rejection letter from Harvard University, he or she may feel immensely disappointed that his or her childhood dreams did not precipitate into reality. Essentially, if you were really the perfect fit for a university, the deans and administration would do anything to grant you admission. While it is easy to say that being admitted into a certain college was your “true calling” or a university was “made for you,” no school that does not recognize the amazing candidate you are is going to be the best fit for you.
Subsequently, whether it be college rejections or in general, making the most of unwanted situations allows students to challenge themselves and recognize there is room to grow. Perceiving a college rejection as a prodigious chance to attend a college where you are truly valued will not only aid with any lingering discouragement but will also increase your dedication and motivation as well.
In the long run, it is not about how you begin, but what you make of your college experience. If the realization to work hard and pursue career goals did not click in high school, you will have a second chance in college. Besides, a student who has been accepted to Yale, but ends up falling short in the school year are in the same or worse place than Yale rejects, who may be thriving in another school. In summation, a student should not compromise who they are or be overly discouraged because of a college rejection. Instead of dwelling on denials, students should work past their disappointment and overcome their setbacks, leading to a much more positive outcome.
So, seniors, if you are rejected from your dream schools, I will leave you with this question: are you going to cynically wish you could attend somewhere else or be a dedicated addition to your new college family?