College rejections are blown out of proportion

It’s extremely rare for a high school senior to be accepted to all colleges applied to.  Nevertheless, those rejected feel devastated (“Almost All of the Colleges I Wanted to Go to Rejected Me. Now What?” The New York Times, May 5). I’d like to offer some comfort, as a former high school teacher.

What feels like the end of the world at the time will in the long run be irrelevant.  I’ve seen that time and again in my former students.  Students who are accepted in second—tier colleges and universities can – and do – have a life as rewarding as those who gain admission to the Ivies and their ilk.  So much depends on one’s major and attitude.  I question if majoring in the humanities from, say, Harvard means more than majoring in computer science from, say, the University of Mississippi.  Notice that I’m referring strictly to jobs after graduation.  An even stronger case can be made by referring to personal gratification.

The entire issue boils down to brands.  Just as some people only feel good wearing a designer line of clothing or driving a luxury car, so too do too many young people feel validated with a degree from a marquee-name school.  It all comes down to one’s values.

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