Last week’s flurry of college admission decisions left thousands of high school students elated by their acceptances and another hundreds of thousands disappointed at their rejection letters. On Friday, one rejected student posted a tongue-in-cheek commentary in The Wall Street Journal on her college application experience, a piece that has garnered national attention and sparked hundreds of comments.
“What could I have done differently over the past years?” asked Suzy Lee Weiss, a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Penn. In an article titled “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me” — which also bears the subtitle “If only I had a tiger mom or started a fake charity” — Weiss satirically explored several stereotypical applicant profiles that are admitted by selective colleges.
Offering up “about as much diversity as a saltine cracker,” Weiss lamented that she could not claim minority status to boost the desirability of her application. Additionally, because she didn’t perform volunteer service, score impressive-sounding work experience or have parents who encouraged her to pursue “hobbies that make admissions committees salivate,” Weiss grieved her lack of a special talent or hook that could have won her a letter of acceptance.
“Colleges tell you, ‘Just be yourself.’ That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms,” Weiss said.
In her final paragraph, however, Weiss admitted that she is to some extent “an underachieving selfish teenager making excuses for her own failures.” Addressing “those kids who by age 14 got their doctorate, cured a disease or discovered a guilt-free brownie recipe,” Weiss said she is still “desperately jealous” of their success.
Comments on Weiss’s article ranged from encouraging to sarcastic. Several comments assured Weiss that college rejection letters are not the end of the road to success, and others praised Weiss for her witty writing and refreshing thoughts. Another comment, however, suggested that “maybe she should have spent more time doing her homework, instead of watching TV.”