Did almost all the colleges you applied to this past year reject you? If so, we encourage you not to read a piece in The New York Times Magazine entitled “Almost All the Colleges I Wanted to Go to Rejected Me. Now What?” by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Because if you read that piece, you’ll read a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo about how it’s not a reflection of your character or your worth. Rather, it’s a reflection of grades, scores, a rigged college admissions process, and you get the idea. Now don’t get us wrong: we understand the importance of grieving. We understand that getting rejected from the vast majority of colleges to which you applied can be devastating. But advice like making the most of it at the state school you happened to get into isn’t exactly going to turn that frown upside-down.
Some Feel College Rejection Teaches Important Life Lessons
Appiah writes in his piece on college rejection, “The goal, therefore, isn’t to be the best; it’s to do your best. And don’t think this lets you off the hook. To become a better version of yourself is quite demanding enough. The 18th-century Hasidic rabbi Zusha is supposed to have said that when he died and appeared before the heavenly court, they could ask him, ‘Why were you not as great as Abraham?’ and he wouldn’t be afraid; after all, he wasn’t given Abraham’s intellectual gifts. They could ask him, ‘Why weren’t you Moses?’ and he wouldn’t be afraid; he didn’t have Moses’ skills as a leader. The question that frightened him was this: ‘Why weren’t you Zusha?’ The scholar Martin Buber, writing in the past century, called this the ‘question of questions.'”
We Feel College Rejection is Avoidable and You Can Learn Your Life Lessons Another Time
We at Ivy Coach don’t know what Rabbi Zusha would say. But we know there are some proactive things you can do to improve your case for admission as a transfer. It starts with a Postmortem Evaluation in which we let you know precisely what went wrong in every component of your application. We do it not so you kick yourself. There’s no sense being a Monday morning quarterback. We do it so you don’t make the same mistakes again — because you’ll realize that much of what you did wrong is easily correctible (not all but much of it). You might be upset right after our session together but, in our experience, you’ll get over it the next day and you’ll start following our advice over the course of the next year to give yourself a much better shot of getting into those dream schools as a transfer.
We suspect even Rabbi Zusha would encourage you not to internalize your rejection but to rather be proactive about putting yourself in a better position for next year.
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