Hindsight 20/22

Reflections on the college admissions process


Jacob Khabie

When I started the college application process, I was aiming to end up at a small, liberal arts college in a relatively quiet town. I’m ending the college application process committed to a Division I school in one of the biggest cities in America, and frankly, I couldn’t be happier.

After reflecting on my early decision results, I went into the regular decision period of college applications with an open mind, ready to accept my destiny, whatever that may be. The month of March was filled anxiously awaiting emails saying “your portal has been updated,” frantically trying to remember various usernames and passwords, and accepting that the fate of my postsecondary education sat behind a link that said “view update”.

I ended the college application process with eight rejections and six acceptances, ultimately giving me a losing record. All my previous healing from my early rejection went down the drain, and I once again fell into a pit of despair and anxiety. I again blamed myself for my failures, and began to wonder if I would ever truly be happy at college.

Admittedly, I was being a little overdramatic. Touring schools as an admitted student gave me an entirely new perspective of what I want in a school, as I was able to look at my six options with more clarity than ever before. I feel incredibly lucky to have fallen in love with one — and thankfully, only one of my options, a school that I never would have considered had I gotten in elsewhere, and recently committed to that university.

In retrospect, this college admissions cycle has taught me more about myself than I ever thought it would. It helped me discover that what I wanted in a school was not based on national rankings and acceptance rates, but instead based on what program and location was right for me. It helped me realize that the “elite” label slapped on many universities is incredibly subjective and ultimately leads to nothing but higher tuition. It helped me learn how to heal from my losses and celebrate my wins.

For those who may be entering this process in the coming years: some of you will get into your dream schools, maybe on the first try, and will have nothing more to worry about, and for that I applaud your achievements and hard work. For the very many rest of you, this process will hurt, and that’s okay. People will tell you not to take this process personally, but you will, and that’s okay too. At the end of the day, college is not about acceptances and rejections, it is about finding the best environment to grow, learn and thrive in.