We Regret To Inform You...
By: Fallon Moore
For a high school senior, those five words are amongst the worst they could see atop a letter from their dream school. These five words are often followed by more from friends and family, with, “it wasn’t meant to be,” “it’s their loss,” or sometimes, with more colorful language. But in reality, these words don’t matter. There is one harsh truth: rejection is hard, but it’s inevitable. Since everyone will go through it at one point or another, and most of us may experience it soon, here are some things to remember about the college admissions process and rejection as a whole.
It’s Like Being Swiped Left on Tinder.
Yale graduate Ben Orlin may have put it best when he compared a college rejecting you to swiping left on your Tinder profile. In his 2015 article written for the Los Angeles Times, which was published in the Hartford Courant, he writes about his decision to quit interview for Yale Admissions, through an explanation of the random nature of college admissions (Why I Quit As A Yale Alumni Interviewer). He explains that when admission for schools, such as Yale, are so competitive, they are constantly accepting and rejecting equivalent applicants. He says, “The admissions office doesn't really know you. The university is just looking out for its own interests, and you don't happen to fit into the picture,” just like on Tinder. It’s inevitable that if you’re not what one particular college is looking for that year, you’ll be the perfect candidate to another.
They’re not rejecting YOU.
The college admission process has become more personal than ever before— we’re encouraged to write about deeply private, personal, even traumatic events, to make ourselves “stand out.” We’re asked about our weaknesses and mistakes and our hopes and dreams. By the end, it feels as though each school has a window into our souls, into who we are. That’s why when you’re denied admission, it’s easy to feel like they’re rejecting you as a person. But in reality, even with the personal information, they’re rejecting the paper-copy version of you, a tiny fraction of your personality, accomplishments, and life. And the same thing is happening to thousands of students across the country. Everyone has a story and everyone has a purpose, and a college’s decision on your admission does not diminish your value or change your identity.
Think Big Picture.
Even with all of this information, with all of the coping tips given in advice columns, rejection is never easy. It’s okay to be upset when you’re denied admission, but the most important thing you can do is stay focused on the big picture. In 4+ years when you’re receiving your diploma, you won’t think to the day when you received a thin envelope instead of a thick envelope from one of the schools on your lengthy college list. You’ll remember all that you learned, the people you met, and the experiences you had at the school that wanted you, that saw your application and knew you belonged there.