The dreaded 'thin letter'. Today, we're going to discuss what to do when
you receive a rejection letter from a college. I recently read a great post on
College Confidential from a parent of a current Olin student, and the parent
pointed out how much "fit" has to do with a great college experience. The parent said (and I quote) '"Being
yourself' isn't just about relaxing, feeling no pressure, and therefore
acing the interviews [at Candidates Weekend]. It is about portraying the 'real
you' so that you and other people can honestly tell if you're a fit. Sometimes
trying too hard to prepare for such interviews cause people to create a facade
of themselves, and if it so happens that this not-entirely-true image of you
gets you accepted to a school, you'd better wish hard that you actually do fit
in or you'd be in for four years of misfit-ness."
While the parent was talking about the interviews at
Candidates Weekend, I think that everything he/ she said is so relevant to the
way that we look at college applications when we're building Olin's freshman
class. We look closely at the most minute details on your application, from the
adjectives that your high school history teacher use to describe you, to the
number of years you played varsity tennis. It is so important to us that, given
the competitiveness of our applicant pool, we are picking students who not only
will benefit from an Olin education, but they'll be well-suited in our weird
and wonderful college environment and they'll bring something unique to the
I know that the dreaded thin letter can feel like a
break-up. You visit the school, you fall in love, and then it doesn't work out.
I remember very well what a college rejection letter felt like!
My main man, Dr. Who, knows what heartbreak feels like.
But here's my little secret, from someone a few
years out of college: you will find a
school that fits. Yup, I said it. It might not be Olin, or MIT, or Brown,
or Harvard, or Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, or the Aviation Institute
of Maintenance. But yes, you will be
accepted to a college, and yes you'll be happy there. And yes, your future is
not a bleak frozen winter tundra! You will be happy and successful!
Not your future!
College is as much 'fit' as it is what you make of
it. If you show up your first week and introduce yourself to everybody and
anybody, if you join clubs or sports or the piccolo ensemble, if you engage
with your professors and your classwork, chances are that you'll be happy with
the school you're at. So no matter where you wind up going, give it the old
'college try'. Remember, that phrase has important origins.
I said it about twenty thousand times on Facebook
and Twitter, but I'll say it again - if there was any way we could have
accepted all of our applicants, we
would have done it in a heartbeat. But even those of you who don't wind up at
Olin are going to be wildly successful and wildly happy, no matter where you
go. Best of luck to all of you college-bound students!