Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Rejection is redirection

How my college decisions impacted my future

Many students have spent years anticipating their senior year. From making plans for the years after graduation to final high school events with their friends, it is an exciting time for many.

I have been looking forward to my senior year since I started high school. Not necessarily because I disliked school, but because I was excited to see what my future held. Every summer was spent preparing for college applications, whether it was attending internships, volunteering at hospitals, studying for the SAT, or working on application essays. I was so ready to finally be done with all the preparation and to see if it paid off.

I applied to 12 schools, and I categorized these schools into three groups: safety, target, and reach. Safety schools were schools that had an acceptance rate of 70% or above, and I chose these schools based on how closely my statistics lined up with that of the colleges’ student body. My target schools were schools I was working to get into, and reach schools were dream schools that had a very low acceptance rate. I knew that getting into my reach schools would be a long shot, as the three that I applied to all had acceptance rates below 20%. However, I have been working towards these goals since I was in middle school, so I was still hanging on to the slightest bit of hope that I might be able to get into them.

I was still realistic, making sure that I could see myself at all the schools I applied to for the next four years. I researched many target schools that had pre-medical programs that I liked and would ensure I could still gain the experience and education that I needed for a career in medicine. It was through this research that I found the University of Cincinnati’s Medical Sciences Baccalaureate Program, and I instantly fell in love with it.

This program had a 40% acceptance rate, a lower acceptance rate than my other target schools, but it was still more attainable than my dream school, Northwestern University. However, because I loved the program so much, it was the decision I was the most nervous to receive.

Waiting for my college decisions to come out was one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. I was always anxious, thinking of the what ifs. One by one, I started receiving decisions. My safety school decisions came out first, which filled me with confidence as I got accepted. However, I was still nervous with each letter I received.

I remember the day I received my University of Cincinnati decision very vividly. I got the email that it came out at the start of 9th period, but was scared to open it in class in case it turned out badly. Instead, my best friend and I went to my car after school to open it in private.

The moment I saw the confetti in the application portal was one of my favorite memories. The excitement I felt was incomparable to anything I have felt before. In that moment, I knew the joy I felt was an indication of how happy I would be at this school, even though I was still waiting to hear back from Northwestern.

After receiving that acceptance letter from my favorite school, I thought it would be easier to handle any other decision I received. While that was partially true, it did not mean opening three rejection letters from my reach schools was easy.

When my first reach school decision came out, I was hopeful. I thought that there was a slight chance that I could get in. After opening the first two, my confidence decreased. After opening a rejection letter from Northwestern, I was very lost.

Even though I had plenty of other schools to choose from, it hurt that the schools I thought I would be attending were not an option anymore. I felt as though everything was different; the life I had envisioned for myself for years was not possible anymore. I felt so defeated.

Speaking to my friends about how I was feeling helped, and they reassured me that everything will work out the way it was meant to be. I took this sentiment with me as I evaluated my other options.

Slowly, everything started to fall into place with Cincinnati. I was already in love with the program I was in, I connected with a potential roommate and we clicked immediately, I received scholarships, and I was accepted into the honors program. As time went on, the more “right” it felt.

I committed to the University of Cincinnati when I visited again for Admitted Student Day. Stepping onto the campus again reaffirmed my feeling, it felt right. I could see myself learning and growing there for the next four years.

Although I am overjoyed with my college decision, it still hits me at times that it is not what I had in mind. I sometimes feel like I let down my parents and teachers by not getting into these schools, but most of all it felt like I let down my younger self. It has sometimes felt like the summers I spent working to better my resume instead of spending time with my friends were a waste.

However, I do believe that all the work I put in was the main reason I got into my favorite school. Although this process did not work out the way I thought it would, it did work out for the best. I may be going to a school I never envisioned myself at when I was younger, but I cannot wait to spend the next four years in what I believe is the perfect school for me. The letters of rejection mean nothing compared to my excitement for the future.

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About the Contributor
Sashrika Shyam
Sashrika Shyam, LZ Life Editor
During her third and final year on the Bear Facts staff, Sashrika is looking forward to assuming her role as LZ Life Editor and Social Media Manager. When she is not stressing out over her college applications, you can find Sashrika spending as much time with her friends, her family, and her dog as possible. She can always be found with a book, listening to music, or rewatching Gilmore Girls for the millionth time. Outside of school and her hobbies, you will find Sashrika working to spread awareness of food allergies. She aspires to major in medical sciences, hoping to become a pediatric allergist. 

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