I believe in the American college rejection process. From February on, for any person in their senior year or higher will tell you that college acceptance is a crapshoot, that it is distorted and unfair. I do not agree, because the college rejection process is realistic.
Don’t assume that I can speak casually about this because I’m attending my dream school in the fall. No, I got rejected from my first and second choice, and chickened out of applying for my third choice (which I still regret). I got into my eventual choice in a second chance, half attempt at an application. Everything works out in the end, which is part of why I believe that the college application process is key to adolescent development.
First of all, college rejection releases a flood of rage and evil. Racial discrimination suddenly becomes acceptable, and the BMW-driving, golf playing rich kid openly professes his desire to drop a few tax brackets. These are awful thoughts, but it is good that we openly face these base emotions and unacceptable behaviors now, with little consequence, so that we can see that they are undesirable and avoid irrationally bitter thoughts in the future.
All you ever hear after college decision letter come out is how one person or the other “totally deserved to get in there.” What a breakthrough! When was the last time somebody openly commented on his actual worth?! As a generation we spend all of our time belittling ourselves, selling ourselves short, and not reaching for our dreams. Any event that causes a student to claim what he knows he deserves, to readjust his view of self-worth, is an institution worth keeping. With luck, each affected individual will carry this more-accurate self appraisal into the world, whether they go to college or not. It’s painful, I know, but invaluable.
College rejection is a horrible trial, but it is one of the first real-world type experiences that secondary students will encounter. Sometimes in the real world, money and connections do give you an edge. Sometimes in the real world, diversity is an overt goal. Sometimes in the real world, a future employer or other objective authority will have to make a decision about you based on one sheet of paper that never seemed to ask the right questions. But as I enter into the real world, I finally do not doubt that I was worth a spot in every highbrow school that turned me down (including the one that I did not even allow the opportunity), that my identity does not fit on my application, and that my affiliations will never wholly define me. On the contrary, I have integrity of being, confidence, and a renewed tenacity and passion for learning. Thanks to systematic and unsympathetic rejection by institutions who will never have the honor knowing me (or any of the students jockeying for position in the cutthroat world of academic achievement), this I believe.
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