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Next Steps Blog


Thin envelope? You’re in good company.

by Susan Lee
Director of College Counseling

As difficult as it is to hear that you have been rejected by a college, it does not mean that it is the end of the road for all of those hopes and dreams. In fact, for many people, a rejection was the best thing that happened to them! At least that is what Warren Buffet, Ted Turner, Columbia U President Lee Bollinger, Today Host Meredith Veira and quite a few others say in a recent Wall Street Journal article.  (Before They Were Titans, Moguls and Newsmakers, These People Were...Rejected).

For Tom Brokaw, "The initial stumble was critical in getting me launched."  Constitutional scholar Lee Bollinger, who attended University of Oregon after being rejected by Harvard, gives this advice:  to “allow other people's assessment of you to determine your own self-assessment is a very big mistake …The question really is, who at the end of the day is going to make the determination about what your talents are, and what your interests are?  That has to be you."

Other movers and shakers profiled in the article talk about mentors that they found, finding a stronger education in the school they attended, and the fact that “being wanted is a good thing.” And, as Noble Laureate Harold Varmus says, “The differences between colleges that seem so important before you get there will seem a lot less important once you arrive at one that offered you a place.”

In an admissions landscape where some colleges are turning away as many as nine out of every 10 students who apply, please take heart that rejection from somewhere is almost inevitable. It feels terrible to open that letter or read that email, but disappointment is often part of the package when you set high expectations and have ambitious goals.  But, only a small part! 

Posted by Kristen Bailey on Wednesday March, 24, 2010 at 04:55PM


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Susan Lee
Co-Director of College Counseling
415 593 9511

Lauren Gersick
Co-Director of College Counseling
415 593 9512

Leslie Schaffer
College Counseling Assistant
415 593 9519

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