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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

I remember the anticipation like it was yesterday. Submitting my last college application on Jan. 1 and feeling a perfect mixture of excitement, relief, and nervousness. Like many other high school seniors during the 2021-2022 application cycle, I had no idea where I was going to college or even where I wanted to go. I applied to very few reach schools, thinking I didn’t have a chance to get into any of them. My grades weren’t perfect. I took challenging classes in high school but had a fair smattering of B’s throughout my report card. I was passionate about leadership, but I hadn’t won any national titles and felt that pretty much all the UCs were out of my reach. My portfolio was far from perfect – I didn’t think it was even close to enough at the time. 

Even though these thoughts circulated through my head, it didn’t stop the anxiety when I started getting waitlisted and rejected from schools. I had gotten early acceptance into SDSU, which had given me a false sense of security. That feeling quickly waned when I started receiving waitlist after waitlist at schools that I felt were targets. I remember the feeling distinctly of knowing I probably wouldn’t end up at my dream school or even a school where I really wanted to go – a school where opportunities were everywhere and my future would be set. At the time, I really felt going to the right college would do that for me. After getting waitlisted at universities with acceptance rates of over 40%, I felt that my life was over and my future was set. However, after those waitlists, the more difficult college decisions came out. These colleges were schools with acceptance rates under 12%, and three out of four wanted me. I couldn’t believe it. I remember how shocked I was at the time. It’s crazy how the trajectory of your life can change in less than a minute. 

My first piece of advice would be not to lose hope. College admissions are a gamble, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that sometimes the people you don’t expect are the ones that get into the schools you’ve been dreaming of – that person might be you. Also, take risks and apply to schools even if you don’t think you can get in. I applied to UC Berkeley on a whim when I realized I didn’t like the campus at UC Santa Cruz and quickly changed my check marks around on the UC Application when my parents wanted me to apply to at least four UCs. That was the only reason I applied to Berkeley. A last-minute decision led me to where I am today.

I remember the day acceptances at Berkeley came out. I saw the email appear in my inbox and didn’t even check it. So sure that I had been rejected I didn’t even bother to open the email. It wasn’t until my dad called me half an hour after having checked it himself that he told me that I had been accepted to The University of California. At that moment, I couldn’t believe it. No one could believe it. My twin brother had checked his portal first and received a rejection from Berkeley after already having gotten into all the other UCs. Thus, it seemed as sure as anything that I, who had yet to get into a single one, would also receive the cordial rejection letter. It was a shock to everyone that Berkeley had chosen to accept me.

College admission decisions are bizarre and seem to have no rhyme or reason. No one knows why they get rejected from one place to another, but everything happens for a reason. I believe everyone finds their home, and regardless of where you get in, you’ll find a school that will make you happy. If going to an amazing school is incredibly important to you, I urge you not to lose hope, even if you’ve already failed several times and received a couple of rejections. You never know what another school is looking for in a person. I hope this story helps you stay strong and not lose hope during college admissions season. 

Best of luck to all future classes!

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Kendall Richter

UC Berkeley '26

I'm Kendall Richter, and I'm originally from Reno, NV. I'm attending the University of California, Berkeley and studying English & Film and Media. I love reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with my dog.