College Rejection Reflection


Photo by Megan Munce

Megan Munce, Assistant Online Editor

From even before the moment when we first step into the college counselor’s office junior year to the arrival of the last acceptance letter in the mail, the question sits heavily on our shoulders: “Where do you want to go to college?”

However, the issue of “what college do I want?” is unfortunately compounded with the enormous weight of “what college wants me?” And for many a prospective applicant, come mid-March, the question turns into “what do I do if the college I want to go to didn’t actually accept me?”

Some might cry, resolve to take a gap year and reapply, and others might pick themselves up by the bootstraps and decide that if they weren’t accepted, they didn’t belong there anyway.

Either way, the pain will fade. At least, that’s what Sharada Saraf (‘16) says. Although aiming for UCLA, Sharada was admitted to every other UC before choosing to attend UCSD. However, she looks back on her experience positively, saying, “I was so busy learning about the programs and campus life at UCSD that I didn’t really think about what it would’ve been like if I had gotten into UCLA.”

“Accepting the decision and being confident in yourself and your worth as a scholar makes the college selection process so much more enjoyable. Getting into your dream school or not getting in doesn’t matter if you don’t put in the effort to succeed,” she says, advising other Pres girls to get over the rejection quickly in order to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the school they did get into.

Sharada’s sister, Sharika Saraf (‘14) agrees that being successful in college has less to do with where you are and more to do with how committed you are to working hard.

“You didn’t get into your dream school? That doesn’t mean your dreams can’t still come true…Regardless of where you are, as long as you keep your eyes on the eventual prize, you’re going to make it,” Sharika, a junior at UC Davis, says.

Katcy Stephan (‘12) says getting rejected from a top choice school was actually a positive experience in the long term.

Getting rejected actually had a good impact in another way…it forced me to think about the important factors to me like size, location, programs offered, and overall ‘feel’ of the school,” she says. “I think, if I had gotten into my top choice, I would’ve gone there blindly, without really thinking about if it was right for me.”.

In many Pres girls’ college decisions, name brand can hold a lot more weight than anything else. Thy Bui (‘09) opted to attend a junior college and immediately felt embarrassed by her choice. “Looking back…I was so entitled and immature,” she says. After attending West Valley College, she was able to learn what she wanted to do in college and applied again to all the same schools, getting into even more than she did before.

I’m very thankful for my experience at WVC and I highly recommend attending a junior college; there I learned that science wasn’t for me and so I was quickly able to  change my major without pushing out my graduation deadline,” she says.

Although holding yourself to a higher standard is by no means a bad thing, sometimes the stress and panic surrounding going to a name brand college is unwarranted. Smaller or less well known schools can not only be just as rewarding, but can let you grow in a slower paced environment without the weight of competing with the other top 20% of the nation.

As Jacqueline Remmel (‘13) puts it, “Don’t apply to a school just because someone tells you that it’s a great school. Apply because you think it would really be a healthy place for you.”

Don’t feel afraid or embarrassed to attend a college that might not break Forbes’s Top 50 list. If they didn’t want you, you didn’t belong there anyway.