College Column

by Anonymous

“The Yale Admissions Committee has completed its evaluation of single-choice early action candidates, and I write with sincere regret to say that we are not able to offer you a place in the class of 2027.”

Rejection sucks, to say the least. When I got the notice from Yale in December, the disappointment I felt at not being admitted almost equaled my agitation at the promise of another round of arduous and time-consuming essays — more words added to my to-do list. 

I dreaded opening the Common Application page and seeing all the work I had to do layed out in front of me. I had intended to apply to Brown University’s Program in Liberal Medical Education, but by the end of December break, I was too burnt out to bother with its additional three essays. 

Yale introduced me to the opportunity of becoming a  molecular biophysics and biochemistry major. As someone interested in biology, physics and medicine, the major’s phenomenal program became even more appealing to me after thorough research. 

After my rejection, I looked at schools like Boston University, Northeastern and Tufts more closely, and I discovered that I could attribute the same passion I had for Yale to those schools as well, if not more.

Yale was never perfect for me — after researching the school’s distressing mental health issues, I began questioning if I would genuinely be happy at Yale. This uncertainty was furthered when I visited New Haven: after building up an image of the town, when I finally got to Yale’s campus, I realized I was actually more disappointed than excited. 

It’s true that the campus is gorgeous, flaunting gothic architecture and numerous dining halls; however, compared to Boston, I felt cramped and trapped in New Haven. With Yale as the city’s central focus and its main claim to fame being a half-way point between Boston and New York City, I realized that New Haven doesn’t have a lot to offer on its own. 

However, I would be lying if I said that Yale’s brand didn’t affect me. The prestige and status allow for eye-catching programs, but the flaws stuck out to me more and more as time went on. A dream school is blinding to both the realities of a school and other opportunities, and it took me a while to see that.

Although getting rejected did hurt, what frustrated me more was the aftermath. Distant acquaintances with whom I had never discussed college texted me asking whether or not I got in; though, not as a friendly check-in, but as a means to sleuth out who got in and who didn’t for their own egos. The condolences of “any school would be lucky to have you” are nothing more but a pitying motivational slap in the face. 

As this process advances to decisions being made and essays submitted, I’ve noticed South’s facade of being a relatively positive admissions environment begins to crumble.  There are individuals who constantly one-up others or assert that they’re better than everyone; those people have become more noticeable. 

Whether it’s jumping on tables after acceptances, giving unasked-for interview advice, joking about people not getting into programs that they did or copying exact essay topics from accepted students, some seniors only see applications as a competition to win. This mentality fosters a degrading community for everyone involved. Ivy may be pretty, but it’s also toxic.