The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The student website of Van Nuys High School
Van Nuys, California
The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

We regret to inform you…

Not every college that you want, wants you.
We regret to inform you...

Senior Thomas Kim opens his computer, apprehensive about the results of his early decision application to Columbia University. 

His palms were sweaty, and his thoughts were swarming with uncertainty. Four years of ruthless studying for AP exams, extracurriculars, competitions and volunteer hours had led to this moment. After finally building up the courage to sign into his email account, Kim saw a peek of the letter to come.

“An update has been made to your application portal.”

Taking a deep breath, he opened the email.

‘We regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a spot at our institution.’  

After four years of strenuous work, Kim was turned down by his dream school.

As results concerning college admissions get released to students all over the country, it has become a time of stressful anticipation for seniors. Most students have spent their entire high school careers working hard in the hopes of getting into a prestigious college, pushing themselves to maintain grades, actively participate in extracurriculars and sign up for endless volunteer work. 

Therefore, it can be incredibly demotivating and mentally crippling when the same students open their admission letters to see the phrases “Thank you for applying,” or ‘We are sorry to inform you.”

According to Forbes News, the growing number of anxious students can be attributed to the uncertainty of getting into a good school. Approximately 56% of students are stressed about not knowing if they will get in anywhere, and 58% are anxious about when they will hear back from colleges. 

The college admissions process has become notoriously confusing and wildly unpredictable.  Even seniors with perfect grades have been rejected. 

“I felt disappointed obviously, but I knew that this gave me an opportunity to look towards the 26 other schools that I applied to,” Kim said. 

Similarly, upon finding out about her rejection from the University of Chicago, senior Adrienne Mita understood that this was not a reflection of her efforts.

“Just because you got rejected doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t deserve to go there,” she said. “It very much still is a random process, and it doesn’t take away from the hard work I put in.”

College acceptance rates have been drastically dropping over the years. The acceptance rate at UCLA ten years ago was 18%. Now, it has gone down to 8.6%, almost as low as certain Ivy League schools. The reasons that colleges have become so selective, according to Business Insider, is the test blind option and an emphasis on extracurriculars. 

“Students need to learn how to be good losers,” college admissions officer Mary Banks said. “Some people fall to pieces when they don’t win and that is not a good formula for success. You have to go into the application process knowing that there’s a chance you might not get into every single college you want but hopefully you get into some.”

As a part of Quad Education, a college admission consultation institution, Banks explains that failure is an important part of life.

“Taking a no and turning it into a yes is something that you need to master,” she said. “One student was denied from a school she really wanted to go to so she came to the University of Colorado instead for her first year then she came to me for help to reapply and she got in the second time. She was able to take rejection and turn it into acceptance. You don’t look for failure but when you do fail, you have to learn from that failure and I think that’s the key to success.”

Rejections still appear to be stigmatized, and many students feel embarrassed or ashamed of their results. Keeping it in can be hard to deal with, and both Kim and Mita agree that it’s beneficial to talk about these situations without feeling embarrassed. 

“It’s hard being rejected, especially because I haven’t been accepted to a school yet, and hearing that other people have gotten into a bunch of really good schools like Ivy Leagues, it’s hard,” Mita said. “If people are open about the fact that they also got rejected from other schools, it builds a sense of community and you start to feel like you’re not the only one.”

Kim and Mita were nervous about how their parents would react to their rejections. Fearing disappointment, this added to the weight of the admissions process.

“My parents have higher expectations, so I thought they would be disappointed,” Mita said. “But they’ve been through this process twice with my siblings, and they realize how much work and time I put into school. They were more upset with the system rather than the work that I put in. Surprisingly, they were more worried about consoling me than getting mad that I didn’t get in.”

According to Kim’s philosophy, not getting into an acclaimed undergrad school isn’t the end of the world. Oftentimes, graduate schools have more of an impact on one’s career.

“Truly, if you’re pursuing something greater like a doctor or a lawyer, your undergraduate school doesn’t matter unless you’re trying to get connections,” he said. “If you don’t like the college you’re going to, then just work hard for the next four years so you can go to a better graduate program.”

All in all, it’s important to note that although it may feel like it, not getting into the college of your dreams does not make you a failure. Undergraduate schools are a relatively small part of one’s career process, and working hard will prove beneficial later in life. 

“I think it’s really important for people to understand that you’re supposed to go where you’re supposed to go,” Kim said. “Rejection is simply redirection.” 

It’s important to realize that college is not a measure of one’s success. What truly defines a person’s character is the power to adapt.

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About the Contributor
Lindsay Han
Lindsay Han, Staff
Lindsay Han is the business/social media manager. She is a senior in her second year of journalism. Outside of doing journalistic duties, she enjoys shopping and listening to Lana Del Rey. She loves to drive around California with her friends and watches Netflix when she has the time. Currently, she is a volunteer at EnGin which teaches English to kids in Ukraine, is the Editor-in-Chief of yearbook and is also the President of the Senior Board. The only thing that Lindsay hates in this world is celery. After high school, Lindsay plans to attend college to pursue a career in law. 
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