After four years of choosing the right classes, joining the right teams, trying to get leadership positions, waking up early on Saturday mornings to do community service, prepping for the ACT and SAT, deciding what colleges to apply to, writing numerous essays on "Why I want to attend this university," long conversations at the dinner table over all the different possibilities, and finally opening up the email that holds the decision, it's all over.
I ended up applying to 13 colleges. In some ways they were all the same school since 12 of them are ranked in the top 15 universities in the United States. In other ways, they were all very different schools looking for different things. I knew that I would get rejected from some of the schools. I thought that I would go into a severe depression when I got my first rejection emails. Fortunately, by the time it arrived I had already been accepted into some really great schools and was enjoying "admit days" on a really great campus. Rejections are never easy, but if you have people behind you who encourage you to apply to these fabulous schools I have a feeling you're still going to get a great education and do something amazing with your life.
Based on my rejections, at times it looked like the admissions process was completely random and that they just guessed at which kids to admit. I was rejected from the No. 15 school in the nation but accepted at the No. 4 school in the nation. Technically speaking, that doesn't work out. When I look at the profile of the students that were accepted at No. 15, according to the numbers, we aren't really that different. In some cases, my grades and tests scores are better. However, the kind of things that they wrote about and the extracurricular activities they participated in were different than mine. They weren't better or worse -- they were just different. For the most part, when I look at the profiles of the students where I was accepted I'm sure I will get along with the kids who could be my future classmates.
When I was applying to schools I didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted to do. Now that I'm pretty sure of what I want, I realize that the schools that accepted me may be a better fit than the schools that rejected me. In my application it was clear that I have a passion for travelling, languages, culture, and teaching. While the schools that rejected me excel in those areas, some of the schools that accepted me seem to combine all of my interests with the practical skills I will need to apply them to my future goals. What I'm trying to say is that admissions officers can see if a student will succeed at their school and if it is really the right place for them to grow and become the best at what it is that they want to be.
It sounds cliché, but I sincerely believe everything happens for a reason. I wasn't in love with any of the schools that I got rejected from, which meant that while it would have been nice to get accepted at a few of them it was not a huge knock down to my ego and I really didn't mind. I'm convinced admissions officers can see if a student is really passionate about their school, will succeed at their school and if it is really the right place for them to grow. At all the schools that accepted me I know I will become successful. I was waitlisted at one school that I considered a serious reach. I suppose the admissions officers saw something that even I didn't know was there. Or maybe it was a way of the greater forces holding my ego together since that school had the lowest admit rate of any school that I applied to.
A lot of people really hate admissions officers but I think they do a great job. I'd like to thank the admissions officers at every school I applied to for doing such a good job of realizing that either I wasn't going to come to their school even if I got in or it wasn't the best place for me to follow my dreams, or if I attended I wouldn't be happy. I'm sure every now and then overwhelmed admission officers make a mistake or there really isn't "enough room in the school to admit all the "great candidates" but for the most part I think they get it right.