When I was in high school, I thought college admissions made or break my entire life. Whenever I would read posts on MITAdmissions about my life was not over and how I would still be okay, I would cynically think, “How would you know? You go to MIT. Would you still be saying the same thing if you didn’t?” I know my personal words may ring hollow, so here’s some profiles of people I know who were rejected from HYPSM, and they’re happy with their lives now.
Dan took the most APs out of anyone at my high school, and he didn’t get into any of HYPSM. He had other killer scores like a perfect GPA and SAT. More importantly, he was the nicest guy – kind, genuine, and humble – and everyone thought he really deserved to get in. (More than me, to be honest). He was the type of guy to help you with your homework even if he had an endless list of things to do. Anyway, he was crushed by the rejections. He went to the local state school and studied one of the natural sciences. In his free time, he worked in a lab, and did some research internships at top med schools. He’s doing his Ph.D. now at Harvard.
Sarah didn’t get into HYPSM and went to a second-tier school (think Duke). When visiting me and some other friends during freshman year, it was obvious that she was still stinging from the rejection – she talked about how great the dining halls were compared to her school and how cool the people she met at my school were, and was visibly upset. Still, she’s gone on to become a published bestselling author of multiple books, and is now doing her Ph.D. at one of HYPSM.
Ahmed was an okay student in high school and went to a state school. He did research in a lab as an undergrad and as an intern at one of HYPSM after graduation. He’s doing a Ph.D. now on scholarship at Cambridge and got the NSF (a prestigious grant). His papers have been in top publications like Science and Nature.
Lilly didn’t even apply to HYPSM and went to a state school on a scholarship. She got a Fulbright after undergrad and is doing a Ph.D. now, studying abroad in Europe and seeing the world. She’s published her writing on well-known websites.
In high school, I would have thought that the lives of these people were effectively over. With the perspective of a few years, I see how they’ve all found happiness in ways suited to them – ways that involved HYPSM postgrad, or ways that are maybe even better for them personally than going to HYPSM.
Rejection hurts a lot now, but one day you’ll realize that you’re happy with your life and laugh at how upset you once felt about something as small as college.