Critiquing my college rejection letters


Colleges need to get better at writing a break-up letter. Photo Credit: UnSplash

Everybody deals with rejection. Whether it be a school, a friend, or a crush, sometimes we just get told no. 

I’ve decided to embrace my newfound rejection from some colleges, by telling them how they could reject people better.

When you’ve been told that you can’t attend a college you love, it can be hard to read a rejection letter that comes off condescending or boring. I have some suggestions for these colleges, and I will be using some actual examples from my rejections.

One thing I found a constant throughout the rejection letters were the words “we regret”. I have learned to despise those words because they aren’t true. These colleges don’t regret rejecting you. If they did, then they should have accepted you. It’s not a bad thing to not regret rejecting a prospective student. It’s a natural part of the admissions process that I wish these colleges wouldn’t play so coy about.  

There was a line that made me laugh in the letter from one of the colleges: “We also realize many students and family members may wish to call seeking a reason why a student was not accepted. There is no easy answer.” You would think there would be a better way to state that you don’t want anybody to call you and complain. 

Many of the letters stated that there wasn’t one factor that led to the rejection and that the decision was difficult. As applicants, we know that there isn’t a guarantee for us, but stating that there was always someone better never really soothes the sting.

I suggest that colleges inject more candor into their letters home. The sugar-coating and fluff added to the letters don’t alleviate any feelings of sadness about the rejection, but rather add a tone of insincerity. I hope that perhaps they can find a way to politely and concisely write a rejection letter.