This is the time of year when students begin to learn how
successful they were at playing the college admission game. They
are receiving their acceptance and rejection letters from
colleges. Many students get into fine colleges but still feel
that they have failed because they did not get into the most
prestigious college or the one that is “in” this year. I believe
students who feel this way are under the mistaken impression that
getting into the the “in” college means half the battle is won
because they can now trade on that college’s reputation and do
not have to work as hard. This apparently is what happens in
Japan. I do not think it is true in the United States. Here it
is still usually true that you get out of college what you put
into it and your choice should depend on a match between you and
what a college has to offer you as an individual.
To all you students who still are not convinced that
you can be successful no matter what your college, I offer you
the following letter my son wrote when he was experiencing
Office of Admissions
Dear Any College:
Having now reviewed the many rejection letters received in
the last few weeks, it is with great regret that I must inform
you that I am unable to accept your rejection at this time.
While I realize that whatever you might read after that last
sentence may be of little consolation, I would still like to
clarify some points for you.
This year, I applied to a great many of fine colleges and
universities, and, of course, received many rejection letters.
Unfortunately, the number of rejection letters that I can accept
is very limited. It is for this reason that I was forced to
reject the rejection letters of many qualified institutions.
This was not an easy task. Each rejection was reviewed
carefully and on an individual basis. Many factors were taken
into account, such as size of the institution, student-faculty
ratio, location, reputation, cost and social atmosphere.
I am certain that most of the colleges applied to are more
than qualified to reject me. I am also sure that some mistakes
were made, but I hope they were few in number.
I am aware of the disappointment that this decision may
bring, for these were not easy judgments. Throughout my
deliberations I have kept in mind the importance to you of this
decision. I wish it were possible to cite specific reasons for
each of the determinations I have made but, frankly, it is not.
It was even necessary for me to reject some letters that
were clearly qualified as rejections. This is surely my loss.
I appreciate your having enough interest in me to reject me.
and. although it may seem inappropriate to you at this time, let
me take the opportunity to wish you well in what I am sure will
be a highly successful academic year.
See you in the fall.
Applicant at Large