I went to my backup school

*Heres a bit of my thoughts on going to “top choice” school I wrote a while back. I think about this a lot as a high school tutor and college admissions guide. I am sure I will add more to this post as time goes on.*

Today is May 1st. Seniors all around the world are putting on their new most prized possession- a tshirt from their home for the next four years. May 1st 2014 I was PISSED.

It was late March of 2014 when I realized I wouldn’t be going to any of my top choice schools. The emails I received in the course of two weeks felt like a personal attack. I was rejected from six schools, accepted at three, waitlisted at one. Emboldened by an early acceptance and a good scholarship in December of 2013, I expected to get into almost every school I applied to.

Like many other high school students, I picked a dream school and fell in love HARD. I could not imagine any future where I didnt go to this school. I visited, I talked to the admissions councelors, I begged friends that went there to proofread my essays.

And on a Saturday night I recieved that schools polite rejection.

My thoughts spiraled. I did all the things. I worked so hard. I took so many APs. People told me I would make it. I am entitied to that school!!


That night I cried, watched Frozen, and ate a cupcake. I was MAD and HURT for weeks. Maybe this is you right now. I’d like to tell you that this is a good thing, and I promise this experience is going to make you stronger, harder working, and provide you with the future you need to pursue.

What happened to me? I committed to my backup school and quietly hoped I would get off of a waitlist. I never made it off the waitlist. I went to orientation with a churning stomach and low hopes. I moved in, and I started school on October 2nd, 2014. It was on this very day that my whole outlook on the situation changed. I fell in love.

I realized shortly that this was where I needed to be. I opened my eyes and my arms and I let go of the dissapointment and stopped the comparrisons. I realized that this was the beginning of a new chapter, hell, a new BOOK with myself as the sole author!! Would I start this book in a pissy mood, looking to the past, marinating in my high school dissapointment?? No. I would not, I did not, and thankfully I have not looked back since this decision was made.

Maybe today, May 1st, you are still dissapointed, and this moment of clarity seems a lifetime away. Thats okay. Get through the emotions. Write about your dissapointment. Reflect. Also, channel that energy and reflection into what you WANT out of college. Write about your dreams, your expectations, your goals. Write write write!!!

Now take a moment to genuinely congratulate yourself. You just went through a grueling process, and that alone is a huge achievement. Recognise that you are stronger now then when you started. Confront the fact that this rejection will not be your last, but you’re going to learn so much from the process.

Dream school, backup school, or school unknown, how you grow from the outcome of college decisions is one of the first chapters in your new book of adult life. Make it a good one.

UCSB, my “backup” school, and the greatest thing that has ever happened to me

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