Where was the Process in College Admissions?

Joseph - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on April 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that I should go to the college of my choice. Let me give you some background information first. I grew up with a mediocre education in one of the poorest parts of New Mexico, yet I was flung headfirst into the richest and most competitive public school in Arizona. I started slowly and ended my freshman year with about a 3.0 GPA. Four years later, I thought I came out on top. I earned practically straight A’s, I was elected senior class president, I am editor-in-chief of the school paper, I lived and volunteered in panama for two months, I am a member of the National Honor Society, I swim on the school team and I rocked the ACT. I was rejected from 7 of my 8 choice colleges.

Even with my freshman year, I now have a 3.89 GPA and my grades have steadily risen in my four years at high school. But with that GPA and today’s competition, on paper, I’m just another shmoe. But I’m not. I do things that the current admission process cannot judge. I bleed blue and silver for my high school. I’m an affable person. I work for my school by giving tours to new staff members, tutoring kids on-campus, being a teacher assistant and even orchestrating the governors visit to my school. I’m essentially killing myself scholastically while my peers slack off in their senior year. I actually care how things are run and write newspaper articles on how to augment important programs. I was still rejected.

You see, the college admissions process as we know it is bland and unforgiving for shmoes like me. The process is flawed as it favors a girl in my government class who cannot carry a full spoken sentence without tripping over her own words, yet she is still deciding between Stanford and MIT. She happens to have great SAT scores, but she nothing but study for written exams and I’m quite positive she will fail as a doctor, due to the fact that it actually requires her to speak to people. And she is not alone. I am surrounded by people strong on paper, yet weak in character. They all still have great colleges to choose from.

The rejection letter itself is quite harsh. Every senior dreads opening the mailbox to find “the small envelope.” It starts with a brief rejection, then tells you how there were a record number of applicants and ends by saying that the rejection does not necessarily mean that you will completely fail in life. But then again, if colleges actually thought that, I probably would have received a different kind of letter.

So what happens to kids like me? If you’re curious, I plan to save every one of my rejection letters. I plan to frame all of them. When I am successful, I plan to laugh at Brown, Northwestern, Wash U, USC, Claremont, UCLA and especially Cornell every time I take a leap forward in life. I plan to reflect on those framed letters at every bump in the road. I’m just seventeen and I’m apparently just some shmoe, but this shmoe knows that he is actually worth something. Regardless of what some “admissions officer” thinks, this shmoe is actually going places.