Yakumithis: A thorough review of college rejection letters

Appearance, aroma, sensations, aftertaste: the stages of wine tasting. I treated college applications as one would treat wine. First, the “appearance,” the campus; then the “aroma,” the vibes of the students; “sensations,” if I was feeling it and finally, “aftertaste,” whether or not applying was worth my while.

Throwing my parents to the brink of a panic attack, I only applied to “most selective” schools. I know, that’s the intro paragraph to every Case Western Reserve University student’s sob story in response to “Why Case?”. I had the honor of getting rejected from four out of the six colleges I applied to, and decided to review all four rejection letters. I promised myself I would publish it at some point:

The first rejection came from Duke University (acceptance rate: 10 percent), a school to which I applied Early Decision. I was confident, brushing off the fact that my ACT was not up to their standards. After all, not applying is the only guaranteed way to not attend, so I took the chance. I was stoked, but Duke was not.

Since I knew there was a 90 percent chance of not getting in, I planned to watch the Bruno Mars Carpool Karaoke video when I received the letter because it’s impossible to be sad while watching it.

This rejection was stupid. I was disappointed because there was so much buildup to the decision notice. They kept emailing countdowns as to the exact time they would reject me, and then the letter was a basic, “Everyone wants us but you don’t deserve us, the applicant pool was super competitive, you didn’t cure cancer, you’re not special, etc.”

My witchcraft suspended their best basketball player and disqualified them before hitting the Elite Eight in the 2017 season. Rejection letter score: three out of five stars.

Three months later, the next rejection came from Boston College (acceptance rate: 29 percent). I was on my couch taking Buzzfeed quizzes about bread, and then, completely unsolicited, I got the rejection email. No warning, yet they made me feel like I somehow insulted them in applying.

“We are grateful for the time you invested in researching the University…after evaluating your credentials in the context of a talented group of candidates, we regret to inform you…”

Wait, do you see that proper noun? It’s Boston College, not “Boston University.” That said, they don’t deserve my grammatical skills. I emailed them back making them aware of their typo, and now I have a zero percent chance of going there for graduate school. Rejection letter score: one out of five stars. Grammar score: zero.

Georgetown University (GU) was the next rejection (acceptance rate: 15 percent), and was a school I actually had hopes for. The rejection letter currently hangs on my fridge.

GU sent its regrets through postal mail. This was a thoughtful touch, and the stationary was extremely high quality. I’m not kidding. I might go an extra mile and frame it. All in all, I think the paper mail thing is what got me with this rejection because it showed their sincerity. No hate. Rejection letter score: four out of five stars.

The final rejection I received was from Brown University (acceptance rate: <9 percent). Brown is an Ivy League, so I had the fortune of sharing this rejection with thousands of other students. Since over 34,000 people apply to the school every year, I had high hopes for their ability to express their regrets. However, I was wildly underwhelmed with their rhetoric.

At 5:30 p.m. on Ivy Day, I opened the blandest rejection email. It was generic to the point that I have nothing to say. Rejection letter score: one out of five stars. Appropriation of endowment funds: zero out of five stars, since GU proved that a printed letter is obtainable, and Brown certainly can afford it.

All in all, the rejection process humbled me. Much like boxed wine, all four schools left a bad aftertaste.

Sophia Yakumithis is a first-year student majoring in history. She also works as The Observer’s News Editor.