I started thinking about where I wanted to go to college before I graduated middle school. I kept a Fiske Guide next to my bed, dog-eared into near obliteration, and stayed home on the weekends to cruise College Confidential. The idea that there was a perfect college out there for every student fascinated me, and I couldn't wait to find my match.
I was meticulously strategic in my approach to applications, laughing off my father's pleas to attend a state school and instead focusing on a cluster of boutique Midwestern liberal arts colleges to which I was positive I would gain entry. I had the test scores, the literary journal editorship, the respectable GPA. While my classmates chattered away about their nervousness in getting accepted to Ivies and Big Tens, I secretly applied to schools no one had ever heard of and that didn't have football teams. I thought I was golden.
But then I didn't get in. To any of them. My first rejection, which came from Macalester College on a dark night in December, felt like a direct sock in the eye. My second, from Kenyon, a sock in the other. My third, the thinnest envelope from Colorado College, a sucker-punch to the gut. The college admissions gods had cut to pieces my five careful years of planning and dreaming, and I was devastated.
At the last minute, however, I was accepted to Bard College, a tiny school on the east coast that I hadn't thought much of before but actually fit all my criteria perfectly: Classes of fewer than fifteen, an admirable student to professor ratio, bucolic scenery and accessibility to a large city. It was what I was going for, just in a different region, the grass a slightly different shade of green.
So I went. I lasted two years before I realized it was absolutely not for me. On a whim, I ended up transferring to the University of Texas -- an enormous state school with a football stadium to seat 90,000 and a dorm so massive it had its own ZIP code. It was fantastic (and I saved a bunch of money).
The moral of the story? Every single cliche about college admissions is true: College is what you make of it. You'll find your own path. None of this matters.
And you can always, always transfer.
IF you want to share YOUR funny, sad, triumphant, ironic, sardonic ADMISSIONS story, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.