Each year, hundreds of thousands of high schoolers dedicate everything to try to get into the colleges of their dreams. And, unfortunately, each year many of them worry about rejections. College admission is not what determines your future. Your future is determined by you – how hard you work and in how you carry yourself every day. While it is undeniable that going to a good college does give you a head start, it is not the end all of what your life will be. With the massive amounts of information available, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture: a good life.
Recently, the selectivity of colleges have been at an all time high. College admission has gone into an unstoppable spiral where there are too many applicants, college acceptance rates lower, and students begin applying to more colleges. Now, some applicants apply to over 20 colleges. This is far too many because you should only apply to colleges you seriously want to attend. As this cycle keeps going, some colleges have a surplus of applicants. UCLA, for example, receives over 100,000 applicants a year and it has far less spots than that available for undergraduates.
On the other hand, some colleges have opened their doors to everyone. There are some colleges that have a 100% acceptance rate, and many colleges (albeit not usually highly
ranked) take nearly everyone. Community colleges are a viable option as they have lower tuition rates and can (in some areas) have guaranteed admission to universities. For example, if you live in California, UC Davis has a TAG program where they guarantee acceptance to community college students who meet a minimum GPA requirement. Programs like these can give you a second chance even if you made mistakes in high school.
Does it any of it matter?
Regardless of where you go, or if you even go to college, you can still achieve your goals! There are many students who do well in community college and go on to do great things, just as there are students who flunk out of the Ivy League. While you can do whatever you want to do with your life, there is still a definite correlation (and likely causation) between where you go and what you achieve.
The real relationship between the college you go to and how your life plays out depends on a surprisingly simple relationship. It is exactly like projectile motion. Sure, the college you attend does impact the initial boost you have, but the effort put in to the rest of the journey is much more important. An Ivy League student who refuses to go to work on time would get fired anywhere, whereas a hardworking student who went to a lower ranking state school could thrive in the same job by working hard. If everyone based their value on the prestige of the college they went to, the vast majority of the people in this country would be worthless which obviously isn’t the case.
More importantly, in the end we all die no matter how great our lives. Exactly how a rock always falls regardless of how hard you throw it. It would be silly to value our entire self worth based on the very beginning of the journey! Even if you faced rejection this year, brush it off and stand tall. You have value as an individual and every goal you had for the undergraduate years can still be accomplished through hard work and perseverance. Do you want a good job? A loving family? A long lasting impact? Recognition? Whatever it is, a college admissions officer cannot take it away from you, so don’t lose hope no matter what happens; things can always get better!
|Ali Kazmi lives in California, and is currently a high school student. His goal is to help as many people as he can through his writing. He plans to continue writing for a long time, while pursuing a degree in computer science.
Excellent article! Thank you Ali for the thoughtful comments included here on keeping what’s important in focus.