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“From Rejection to Acceptance”’: My USC College Admissions Journey

The wait is over!! All over the country and the world, many rewarding high seniors received their USC acceptance letters this week. I’d like to say Congratulations and Welcome to the Trojan Family! We are all excited for the newest Trojans and I hope USC will be your new home this fall.



 And I would like to acknowledge those students who worked tremendously hard, but perhaps didn’t receive the admissions news they were hoping for. Don’t worry, I was in your shoes too when I was a high school senior. I still want to say a job well done and I hope you find inspiration and motivation through the telling of my story.

   Do I even need to ask who is JK Rowling? Of course not. For all you loyal Harry Potter fans she is the indeed the Chosen One who wrote such an astounding series that impacted our generation. She’s a highly successful author and serves as an inspiration for all. Even today, her success continues, including the opening Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios this month in Los Angeles, and her new book “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” coming out this summer.

  But surprisingly I learned something new about JK Rowling: she received rejection letters. . Last week on MSN, I read an article on her and how she posted her rejection letters from publishers on Twitter. Before you think and say, “How can someone reject Harry Potter?!” or “I bet those publishers are sorry now!” Her motives behind it weren’t trying to throw shade or seek revenge. Rather she wanted to inspire and give hope to young writers whose mailboxes are filled with rejection letters. As a young writer, I know there will be the dreary days of receiving rejection letters from publishers. However, I have to remind myself that I am a good writer and like JK Rowling, I have to use my setbacks as motivation. And when I received my rejection letter from USC as a first year applicant student back in 2013,  it could only propel me forward.

  In reality, USC was my dream school. In fact, it was my mom’s dream school when she was in high school. During her senior year, she would watch USC college football games and adored the school’s colors. She would tell me how she loved watching the white horse gallop around the stadium. From that point on, she knew she wanted to go to USC. She told my grandmother that she wanted to apply there, but my grandmother refused her to apply there because it was too far. She wanted her to stay in the Midwest and attend a school here. My mom’s heart was set on USC and after being refused to apply to USC, she had no desire or excitement to go anywhere else.

  Almost thirty years later, I too had a desire to a part of the Trojan Family. Although I had never visited the campus or even traveled to California, I too fell in love with the Trojan Spirit by watching Youtube videos about campus life and other videos related to USC. I admit, I was obsessed over USC, but who wasn’t though? As a Midwestern girl, the opportunity to study in sunny Cali and receiving a renowned education at one of the top universities of the country was a dream.

 For the next four years of high school, I studied rigorously, piling up honors and AP classes and being involved in many activities. I knew USC was highly competitive. In fact, USC’s 2016 admitted class was the most competitive in recent years. According to the admissions statistics, there were 54,100 applicants and 8,920 applicants admitted (USC.edu/news). As a result, this year’s admissions rate was an incredible 16.5 percent, the lowest in USC History!

  In spite of the competitive nature of USC admissions, as a first year applicant in 2013, I applied anyway in hopes of being admitted to the Trojan Family. Unfortunately, when the day had finally came to receive an admission decision, I didn’t expect to receive a thin small envelope in the mailbox. In that moment, I was hurt and devastated. I even cried on the stairs on the shoulders of my two younger brothers. Let’s face it, rejection hurts, no matter the kind. But I also knew that rejection is temporary and I could pick myself and try again.

   And that is exactly what I decided to do for the next two years. After attending community college for two years, I applied to USC again but this time as a transfer student. In my heart, I knew that USC would be the place for me to thrive as an individual both in and out of the classroom. I would have the wonderful opportunity to be in a diverse setting and meeting people from all of over the country and around the world. With the faith and motivation behind me, anything is achievable. On May 6th, 2015, my life was forever changed. I received my acceptance letter from USC and my heart was pounding so fast over the excitement when I read,  “Welcome to the Trojan Family.”

 One year later, here I am, finishing my first year at USC with a sense of gratitude. As I  reflect upon my journey, I learned the importance of perseverance and using setbacks as a tool of motivation. Like JK Rowling, I hope my rejection letter would inspire prospective college students as a source of motivation and encouragement. And for those of you who been accepted at USC over the weekend, I again say,  “Congratulations! Welcome to the Trojan Family!”  I say, in the name of USC’s slogan to Fight On! And continue to press forward in the direction of your goals.







Chirsten is an English major at the University of Southern California. She was born and raised in Chicago and now lives in the grand State of Texas. She comes from a sports-loving family and for her, everyday is game day. She also enjoys volunteering in the Los Angeles community and learning new languages.
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