Getting Denied from My Top School Was a Good Thing, Here's Why

Five little words. “We regret to inform you:” the five little words that seemingly determine the rest of your life. It’s a crushing feeling, being rejected. You may feel as though all hope is lost and that your dreams are crushed but when I was denied from my top choice school, I realized that it was a good thing. 


All my life I had visited a certain campus. In the beginning just went to eat at restaurants surrounding the campus or  visit the local candy shop, but ss I grew older, I started to walk around the campus imagining what it’d be like to go there. 


Everyone has this one school, the one school that they feel completely embodies their personalities and their desires. This was that school for me. It had a skiing club (with practically their own ski mountain), an amazing computer science program and it was close to home. It was perfect, that is until I applied. The stress set in and I needed every word to be immaculate. I was applying early decision. If I got in, my fate was sealed. In early December, I read those five words: “We regret to inform you.” I was rejected. It was to be expected given that this school was a huge reach for me. 


I thought all hope was lost. Then I got into Madison. That huge school in the midwest? Such a random place for me to even apply to but I decided I’d give it a shot. It has a skiing club, and a great computer science program but it’s a bit far from my home on the east coast. Despite the distance, I visited and fell in love with the campus. Fast forward almost two years and I’ve met some of my best friends: my roommates, who understand when I go full crackhead studying for midterms, my ski team, who pushes me to try my hardest and to try new things and that one kid living across from me freshman year who was there to crack me up and take late night trips to Gordon’s when I felt as though I didn’t fit in.


Another admittedly awful reason that I was interested in my top school was the prestige--it’s only human to want to impress others. What I failed to realize is that literally nobody cares about prestige. That and the fact that Madison is one of the top universities in the country.


One of my good friends from home shares my major but goes to this “prestigious” school I’ve been talking about. He has asked me for help on several of his homework assignments and our curriculums were of equal difficulty,making me realize that getting rejected did not mean that I was stupid and that no matter the prestige of a school, they’re all the same. I just wasn’t right for that place and I’m glad I’m not.

Madison has given me so many opportunities I would never have encountered if I had been accepted to my top choice. I went skiing in Montana last year during winter break all because of the ski team here. I’ve never even skied out west before and I for sure  never would have if I stayed in my bubble on the east coast. I’ve been able to essentially experience a different culture. I’ve gotten to experience Wisconsin; Wisconsin geography, Wisconsin cheese, Wisconsin football andWisconsin beer. I couldn’t be happier. If you read those 5 little words, just know that it will all work out and you’ll probably have a better time somewhere else.