To All the Colleges That Rejected Me

The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece written by a graduating high school senior who apparently was not accepted by the college(s) she was hoping to attend next fall (

I thought I would try a version (not all of it true).

Dear Admissions Director:

I recently received your letter stating that I was not accepted to your great institution for matriculation in the fall. I have been taught, when I fail, to ask why and to use that information to grow. Please help me learn from this rejection so that I can change course, and in the years to come, you look back on your decision and wonder how such a great person could have been overlooked.

I have not suffered divorce, rare disease, eating disorders, neglectful families with big trust funds, latchkey kingdoms, multiple moves that left me friendless, or coming from a misunderstood minority. I have not had to overcome anything but a normal adolescence. I am merely a late bloomer with a great family (although not alums or famous), a small group of nerdy friends, and an optimistic attitude about what’s to come.

I know that doesn’t sound very exciting to a guy who hears all kinds of stories of loss and redemption. I’ve never understood why happiness sounds so boring to other people. Or just a nice girl-next-door making her way through high school without a big bang – good or bad.

Here’s me in nutshell.

While I have not excelled on the lacrosse field, I am the most passionate, hardest working, but slowest benchwarmer in the league. My coach and my teammates like me, even if they don’t pass to me.

My grades are good, but not stellar because my teachers say that I should speak up more in class. They clearly think I have something important to share, and I will share it when I am ready… most likely in college.

I never played Carnegie Hall, but I rock out in the shower. Had you accepted me, your freshman dorm halls would have been alive with bad 70s and 80s music every morning. What better way is there to wake up a college campus than joyful singing early on a Sunday morning!

I have not yet saved the world, because I am gathering my facts and building my skillsets, so that when I do launch my first philanthropic initiative, it will be world-changing… for someone, somewhere, and it won’t just be me.

When I travel – and I admit I have not traveled west of the Mississippi, east of the Atlantic, south of Virginia or north of New England – I prefer to stay off the highways, bring my own fresh maple syrup into breakfast joints, buy art off the street, and take photos of people, not places. And I dream of traveling everywhere outside that perimeter. It’s just that I’ve been working summers and saving up to go to your college.

I make myself laugh all the time, which makes other people laugh.

I am loyal, the kind of person who will remember my college with fond memories and give back year after year.

I’m a decent kid with lots of potential. I think you would have liked me. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Just Your Average Teen


2 thoughts on “To All the Colleges That Rejected Me

  1. I can really relate to this. College admissions is such a brutal process!

  2. Jane says:

    I really like your letter a lot.

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