On the prospect of being rejected by universities

On the 27th of March,that is,in a little more than 1 week,I will receive the decision letters of the 5 Ivies to which I applied.I am feeling a bit apprehensive lest I will again be rejected.Yes,again.Last week I was rejected by one big university.

To be honest,I am not at all confident in my chances of getting accepted by any of these five universities.I have just gone on collegeconfidential to check the stats of those who got accepted in December (Early Decision) and …. the least I can say is that I am very far from what these universities demand.It is pretty simple to understand the logic behind acceptance: to get a seat you need either solid extras with decent scores or solid scores with decent extras.Obviously you get accepted hands-down if you’re excellent in both areas.

In my case,I have neither solid extras nor solid scores.Instead of being chief editor for a magazine,I run a blog about classics; instead of volunteering in hospitals, I have been experimenting with my camera bought some months ago; instead of debating as a chairman/delegate of the Modern United Nations,I was creating digital works on deviantArt.Even though I showed them who I really am,I realize that my extracurricular activities will be of no importance to these universities.

As for the scores,I got 2000 in the SAT.At first I considered this score decent,but I soon changed my opinion when I looked at the scores of the early applicants.The lowest score was 2150 and the highest was 2360.According to them,a low score ranges between 2100 and 2200.At that moment I understood that my 2000 is abysmal.Sure,I should have felt hopeful when I saw some people with 2340 being rejected and others with 2200 being accepted,but the fact still is that my SAT score falls way beyond the lowest score accepted.The same could be said about my HSC results,an alternative to the ACT and GPA scores.

Though at the time of my application I didn’t know that my chances of getting in any of these Ivies grazed impossibility,I was aware that I had to resort to great measures in order to convince the admission officers to give me a seat.I told them about my distinctions in maths,my love and fascination for statistics,my desire to learn more and to apply my knowledge of stats in the world of economics,and even my admiration of those MIT students who ‘invented’ a formula to beat the game of Blackjack.I also told them about this blog,my passion for art,my intent to meet other people and learn from them and how I think I can contribute to the university.

But in all likelihood,in one week’s time,I will be rejected by all 5 of them.I will not however be disappointed with the universities’ decisions.I was sincere in everything I told them and I did everything to push for a seat,be it in the SAT,the HSC exams or application essays.I knew also beforehand that I wasn’t applying with the greatest of chances.On the other hand,I will be worried if ever I do not get accepted by these 5 universities.I am 100% true to myself and only engage in things I am passionate about.As a matter of fact,throughout my life I have always made sure that I develop a personality of my own and to that end I read much about the lives of Guevara,Kerouac and Einstein.I will never forget the well-known quote from the father of relativity:

Education is not the learning of facts,but the training of the mind to think.

This is what I have strived to do all my life; apply what I learned at school and in books to any trivial experiences of mine.But it is a shame that even with this mindset,I am down the pecking order of students who are likely to get accepted,in the light of the universities’ demands.Even if you think out of the box,are really passionate and have a unique personality,you do not have your place in the elite.I don’t mind so much about not going to an elite university as the lack of opportunities to learn from great students and astounding lecturers and the absence of an environment that encourages creativity and excellence – these are essential for achieving great things.Well I guess I will have to do things on my own…

Do big universities really want you to be who you are or rather who they want you to be? I have a hunch that it is the latter.While other applicants might think faster than I do and even be more intelligent that I am, I am persuaded that I know many things which they don’t.I do not feel inferior to them and am very satisfied with the individual I turned to be.For that reason alone,I am happy and even the rejection letters will not be able to change that.Besides I often think that even Einstein wouldn’t have been accepted in any of these Ivies: he was a passionate but slow thinker, and had poor and ‘hopeless’ results,but ultimately showed the world that one’s worth should not be assessed on the basis of one’s results; one’s worth lies in his passion and desire to go to the end of things,regardless of the number of times he has encountered failure.

Taken from Google Image.

15 thoughts on “On the prospect of being rejected by universities”

  1. I went to an Ivy for grad school and, albeit, the selection process is much different than for undergrads, I was mystified when I got in (and I had already been rejected by lesser programs). At some point, early in my studies, I realized that the committee was more apt to select people who were not “perfect” (meaning, their resumes were not what you expected and all tied together with a gold bow)–one of the professors on the selection committee said this in so many words. They liked people with passion, who were doing things not labelled as resume fillers. They looked at your work and asked different questions on the application than the other programs I applied to. They wanted to get a bigger picture of who you were. So, don’t fret too much. I’m sure it will work out no matter the outcome.

    1. Lucky you! ( Although I bet luck played no part in your acceptance)
      I’m sure it must have been great to study at an Ivy University.
      While I know they look for passion and different things in applicants, I cannot help but think that I have absolutely no chance of getting accepted.I have nothing in my favour and who would be interested in a guy,who like thousands of others,runs a book blog?I’ve gradually come to terms with the unlikelihood of my getting accepted.

      Anyway,thanks a lot for commenting! 🙂
      Much appreciated!

      1. We’ll see about that. It’s a shame about American colleges though: they put emphasis first on you being a citizen, a member of society, while in Europe, for instance, emphasis is put first on your being a person, an individual. What matters is not extracurricular activities directed at community (editing school magazines, chairing some student societies and whatnot); what matters is your attitude, the way you act and what you’re interested in. I’ve said it before: you’d be the perfect candidate for European universities, as far I can judge.

      2. Ah,I guess I will have to apply to those European unis…but the deadline of most good schools has already passed.That’s where it is the most depressing for me.I’ll probably end up in a uni with uninterested and unmotivated students….

        I really had hopes that despite my stats I would be able snatch a seat thanks to my passion,but it is more difficult than I imagined.U Chicago rejected me and I expect Yale to do so as well. (Yeah,I was so stupid as to apply to Yale,where only superhumans get accepted!)

  2. What a lovely and genuine post! I completely agree with you (and Einstein) on the concept of education. Where do you find yourself now? I bet those universities that rejected you are missing a great deal …

    1. Thanks very much for reading this post! 🙂
      In the end,I got rejected by all the 5 universities,and I had to apply for the ones found in the UK.
      I could have done something in my country,but given that I won a scholarship,I was being pressured to study abroad.

      I got accepted in Aberdeen,Kent,Surrey,but I opted for Kent.I think what is sad with all universities these days is the fact that you’re ‘useless’ if you don’t do something ‘flashy’ – like being a chief editor,delegate at MUN,or something like that.I mean,Oxford or Cambridge would never have accepted me if I applied there,because all I have as an extra is my blog.

      But well,I guess we should do with what we have.People who study like crazy and do things just for the sake of filling their CVs are the ones who get the best learning infrastructures,while those who’re like me have to settle with the second choice.But I’m not bitter though; I’m very motivated to prove myself at the University of Kent.

      Thanks once again for your interest. 🙂

      1. UK! That’s my dream, hah! Seriously, from age 7 I dreamed of studying at Oxford and living in London. At the moment I reconcile dream and reality by telling myself that University of Toronto is a Canadian Ivy. We do have ivy-covered walls! 🙂

        Those people living for the sake of brilliant CVs, are they really enjoying themselves? I don’t think so. But I hope you have a great time in Kent and enjoy every minute! Just think of Charles Dickens!

      2. University of Toronto is impressive indeed!
        Thanks for the wishes,and I’ll make sure to make the most of my time in Kent both humanely and academically.
        And I think I should visit the place where Dickens wrote Great Expectations too! 😉

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