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How Being Rejected from My Top Choice College Made Me a Better Person

March 2017 was the month that would make or break my future because it was the month where I would find out if I had made it into my top choice school.

I applied to 13 different colleges and as a first-generation college student, I knew relatively nothing about the college application process. My older siblings and older friends became my primary sources. The only thing I knew for sure was that UConn was my first choice.

Before I even completed my application, I fell in love with the campus, picked out my sorority house, and checked the time between the campus and the hometown of the love of my life. With him being from Connecticut and me from Long Island, the distance was unbearable. I had hope that maybe, just maybe, if I was in the same state we could make it work.

So, I completed my Common App, got my recommendations, and submitted my SAT scores. Then came March where every day I checked to see if the decisions came out. When I found out, I was walking to Criminal Justice from my A.P. Literature class when my friend asked if I checked my decision yet that day. With shaky hands, I took my phone out of my pocket to log in and check.

As I waited anxiously for the portal to load, seconds seemed to be as long as hours. I had been accepted! In my haste to check my decision, I failed to recognize that I was not accepted into their main campus, but one of their satellite campuses instead. 

Upon visiting the smaller satellite campus, I learned several things:

  1. This campus did not have dorms yet. They were under construction with no guarantee that they would reach completion before the 2017-2018 school year.
  2. I could NOT afford to go there.
  3. I would have to complete 2 years at this campus before I was eligible to transfer to their main campus.

I was devastated. I had planned out the next 4 years of my life under the assumption that this was where I would be spending them. I cried the entirety of the ride home. But I had to decide: what next?

I told my dad that Monmouth was my new plan, and the only thing he asked was, “When are we going?”

As soon as I visited the campus, it felt like home. I knew there was nowhere else that I needed to visit, because this was it for me. I did not visit any other schools after that day.

By not getting into my first choice school, I removed a hypocritical “best friend” and a dead-end relationship from my life, and I lost 15 pounds. Going away to school forced me to work on myself for the better. I had no friends attending with me, no romantic partners, and no family close by. My personal growth has been undeniable.

My first semester of college was full of love, light, and laughter. It led me to meeting my best friend Dana, and I know that we’ll be friends for life. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I was not meant to go to my first choice, because I never would have worked on myself. I would have stayed stuck with the same people, because I wouldn’t have realized that they were a part of the problem.

To all my current seniors struggling with the weight of rejection, just wait. It may be the best thing to ever happen to you.


Erin Delaney

Monmouth '21

Monmouth University 2021 B.A., Psychology; Minor: Gender Studies
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