Rejections/Acceptances: a list


Since my last post,  everything that was actually post-worthy happened. May 1st is tomorrow, and I’ve narrowed down my college decision. I’ll be paying a deposit to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, but due to difficulties in the financial aid (on my side, not theirs!) spect of things, I have not received my financial aid package; the non-refundable payment doesn’t finalize things (so Southern is still looming).

I hoped to introduce Oakwood into the conversation (I need the “vision,” as a friend of mine says. I need to be in a place in which I am finally affirmed that I am just as capable as anyone, and being a successful, “classy” black girl isn’t a rarity), but even though the cost is comparable with Southern, my dad closed that option.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on. Without further ado:


Brandeis University (big ups to the Jewish tradition, which would allow for Sabbath rest, on top of its stellar academics and proximity to Boston)

Hampton University (surprisingly because I thought I never completed my application, decision was promised for 3 weeks post submission, got it a few months later)

Oakwood University

Fordham University (when things started feeling real!)

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Case Western Reserve University

Southen Adventist University

Marquette University

Loyola University Maryland

Macalester College (a personal favorite of mine for everything that isn’t academically-related, EVERYTHING; ask me about it because it’d be a long explanation)

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (huge surprise, especially since last year only 7% of accepted students had GPAs lower than a 4.0, and only 15% of out-of-state students were accepted, not to brag because I actually feel like HOW DID THIS HAPPEN FOR ME)


Washington University in St. Louis

Stanford University 

Harvard University (another one that I never finished the application [missing required standardized test])

Georgetown University (of which I once obsessed with, that I thought I would get accepted,–or even wait listed–of which I thought things were looking up with fewer applicants that year and then what I could bring to the particular school I applied to)


Washington and Lee University (I loved that school. So generous with aid, too)


It’s amazing how things are turning out. I just want to make sure people know what I wish I knew.


You soon won’t be hearing too much from me.


This is due to the fact that I just submitted my last college application!

Last, but that word is strictly in regard to college applications. There are still scholarship and honors program applications.

I still feel as free as that chick.

Update (25 minutes later): FAFSA has been submitted too! Next step is the CSS Profile.

I’ve been struggling.

Macalester College by Jay Gabler
Macalester College by Jay Gabler

It’s no surprise that my last application to submit has a writing supplement that asks, “What draws you to our school, and what would you contribute to it?”

I promise that the reason why the application hasn’t been turned it yet (yes, I know, I’m way behind all of who sent in all your apps before the new year, but, as the title states, I’ve been STRUGGLING), is because everything I’ve written so far for this supplement doesn’t seem adequate.

A while ago, I wrote a post about why writing supplements that ask, “Why this college?” are the most difficult to compose.

And here I am proving the post right.

The school is Macalester College, one of my absolute favorites. Every time I spend a significant amount of time either reading its viewbook, taking a virtual tour, or going through student reviews on Unigo, it’s an emotional experience. It’s in the trigger phrases–a commitment to multiculturalism, access to caring and knowledgeable professors, connections to internship opportunities–now that I’ve gotten over the initially superficial things that I had originally wanted from my future college, I look for these exact qualities.

And then they have these super cool co-op residence houses! Forget Greek life: There’s one for vegetarians in which meat is banned, many language houses where students live to immerse themselves in their chosen language, and an eco house (the name explains its purpose). It’s small, and it promotes an atmosphere of constant intellectualism. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, graduated from Mac.

Somehow, I’ll have to pull from the substance behind these things; for example, from the co-op residences houses, I can say that I respect Mac’s belief in learning that works on application and assimilation, learning that truly follows a student from the campus to the world.

I think I’m getting the hang of this.

Except for the “why YOU?” part of the question.
Why I am worthy to walk the path that Kofi Annan walked?
I don’t know.

I could say that I am international and special and smart.


I’m struggling.

From outside the fog of my past college daydreams


(University of Chicago, July 2013)

If you know me, you’ll know I’ve had college daydreams since forevva, mostly elicited by a combination of  my memories of life at Michigan State University and life as seen on television (20% – 50% – 30% other influences). Fantasies of walking in through ivy-covered gates, debating the meaning of life on the university lawn with other wanna-be intellectuals, and walking hand-in-hand on said lawn with a super attractive hipster frequently danced in my head; I envisioned myself going on late night coffee shop runs with my roommate (aka soul sister) to put in hours of enthusiastic study sessions.

Flash forward to the year 2013:

I had no idea that writing applications could significantly alter my view of what college life really entails.

I’ll be sweating.

Typing in all the activities that I have participated in over the course of my high school career, sending in my standardized test scores,  and weighing my applications with freshman profiles of colleges nationwide forced me to realize the fact that I’m not all that special. I won’t maintain the title of being the girl who always has the keenest answers. Expectations made my professors will far exceed those established by my high school teachers; I will be among many like me, so to stand out, I’ll have to exert twice, three times, as much effort as ever before.


Calculating the actual cost of college–including housing and meal fees, subtracting merit and need-based scholarships–has also been as a splash of ice water on my heart. To be able to manage costs, I’ll definitely need to participate in work-study programs. As a result, I cannot imagine that I will have tons of free time to frolic in on the campus lawn. Things get serious when you have to plan for $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 debts.

The weather(?).

Considering the fact that only about 30% of the schools that I applied to are below the Mason-Dixon line, I had better be factoring the implications of most likely going to school up north. The fact that many of the major snow storms east of the Mississippi River occurred around the schools I applied to doesn’t help to calm my fears of miserable flu seasons and a constant struggle to keep warm from November to March.

Dating and the social scene.

The very aspect of college life that enticed me the most has now arisen so much uncertainty within me. Will any of the guys on campus share my core values? Will I be able to resist the temptations offered up at parties? Will I even have a social life – especially with my finances? (Assuming that I’ll make it out of Collegedale) how will my classmates react to my peculiar beliefs as an Adventist? I’m starting to realize the additional challenge, not reprieve, that will come with the college social scene.

But the comfort I have received after this understanding lies in the simple truth that my education is for the purpose of fulfilling my career aspirations. My education will be the passage through which I come to my ultimate purpose of helping to promote a socially just world.

Rejection (email) letter

Approximately two hours and 15 minutes ago, I received my admissions decision from Stanford: a rejection. The letter was far less condescending than I imagined it to be; in fact, the dean of admissions used such words as “humbled” and “complimented” in describing how they felt about my (and every other rejectee’s) application. He even directed the rejectees to an article he wrote for that includes two examples of current Stanford professors that were rejected as undergraduate candidates.

Anyway, I was mentally prepared for this. It was my mother who was the saddest; she went to give me a hug, and I was really reluctant to draw into the embrace for fear that doing so would make this a bigger deal than it honestly is.

I get my first rejection letter in a week!

Coming from Stanford. And you say, “Joelle, why don’t you believe in yourself?”

Listen. I’m sure Stanford professors will agree: the statistics speak louder than my hopes. Only 5% of all applicants get admitted, and the acceptance rate is even lower for people with my ACT scores. 97% of rejection.

That’s too damn close to 100%.

And I must mentally prepare myself for this so that I don’t fall apart weeping in about a week.


I have to talk about the hypocrisy of Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Google, talking about how “America collects too much data from its citizens” and “People lack privacy these days..”

These companies DESIGN their products to encourage consumers to share as much information with them as possible–they know our credit card information, our life history–shoot, they for sure know more about your love life than your best friend does. Sure, they claim to be reluctant to share our information to the government, but they have no qualms about making this data available to companies who will pay them.


Is my train of thought that ridiculous?

Because in my opinion, the only people not making sense right now are those tech companies.

Let’s talk about government surveillance: for example, people are getting hyped about such new technologies as visual recognition software, and some, rightly so, are afraid that the government could abuse such a technology. But guess who has almost perfected the art of visual recognition software, who has collected enough of your photos to scan for you? Facebook.

I feel the desire for America to stop sacrificing its citizen’s privacy for security as much as anyone, but for these companies to act like they feel the same way…

And we can talk about how hypocritical this all is later, but since y’all didn’t expect my sudden rant, I’ll stop now.

Good night.