What College Rejections Do to Us

It’s that time of the year – Yes the much awaited, or the much dreaded, college admission decisions are now out. While some are bathing in the glory of acceptances, most of us have been rejected – that too by more than one university. It seems like each time we manage to get over one rejection, another one hits us right in the face till the point that it seems funny in an odd sort of way. Or maybe I just have a weird sense of humor. Even worse, there is a waitlist category – which plainly screams out ‘I just might go out with you if I get dumped, keep hanging in there, no really!’.

As much as I’d hate to admit, rejections were not something I’d had in mind; at least, not five of them. It has gotten to the point where I dread checking my mail each morning, and the words “Admission Decision” are good enough to give me a stomach flip. That was one of the reasons that I made a friend check the last such mail I got, needless to say what it said.

The US application process is nowhere near ‘easy’. It is almost strange to see a person without a bulky SAT book and a confused expression on their face prior to the application process. As October approaches, appearing for the exam every month till the year end becomes a norm rather than an exception. I, for one, received gloating expressions and many raised eyebrows when I claimed that I only wanted to take the exam once. (My views did change after coming out of the exam hall of course.)

Even when the terrible ordeal of SAT is over, come the essays which seem pretty doable until you start doing them. Looking at blank MS Word pages and typing retyping words becomes a daily thing. Now is the time when you start getting furtive glances and strange whispers from your friends and family, you also often catch the phrase ‘losing it’ but are almost too tired to convince them you’re still sane.

Having school tests coincide with SATs and application deadlines becomes the most frustrating thing. I know a lot many people, myself included, whose GPA took a sudden downfall in their final year at the cost of applications. I don’t know if it is just me, or the phrase ‘international applicant’ drives everyone a bit crazy. It is enough having your fate rest on the college you go to, but being labeled as an applicant for whom the benchmark is even higher makes you long for an abundance of good universities in your nation.

Once you finally take a breath of relief with all those applications done and catch up on all those hours without sleep, come the decision notifications. The first time they tell you ‘even though students may be clearly competitive for admission based on their academic records and their test scores, we are only able to admit a small percentage of qualified students’ it is still believable, but when you receive five letters saying the same thing, then comes the breaking point.

And yet with all my college decisions here, a fair amount of them rejections, I look back on all those hours spent filling out one form after the other, and surprisingly, I don’t regret it, but feel an uncontrollable urge to do more. SAT did boost our vocabulary. As for those rejection letters – they’ll always be amusing to look at some years down the line.

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