It’s finally that time of year again -– holiday music and hot apple cider, snow flurries and fuzzy socks, family, friends, and gifts galore -– but for hundreds of high school seniors, this holiday season has brought with it the epitome of all miracles. After months of slaving away at college applications and spending countless hours perfecting every letter of every word of every essay, a new batch of QuestBridge National College Match Finalists discovered on December 2 that they had been matched with a full financial aid package to one of QuestBridge’s thirty-five partner colleges, which rank among the most prestigious in the nation and in the world.
These students will just now be beginning to breathe easy for the first time in months, because they have made it. They have conquered. They have singled themselves out as some of the nation’s best and brightest. They, despite every obstacle, have been accepted.
I remember that day. I remember the evening decisions were released. I remember waiting with bated breath and a pounding heart for that one momentous e-mail to ping into my inbox. And I remember the rejection. I remember that exact moment when all my hopes and dreams seemed to deflate like a popped balloon. I remember the aching disappointment and the helpless frustration. I was not matched with any of the eight schools I ranked, and I remember that rejection and the many more I faced after as six of the ten colleges I applied to turned me down one after the other.
But what do I remember more than all the rest? More than all the rejection? More than all the disappointment? I remember the moment I was accepted to the college of my dreams through Regular Decision, accepted to the college I had ranked as my number one choice in the Match. My happy ending may not have come when I would have liked, but it was as fairy tale perfect as one could hope for.
To all of those finalists who were not matched last week, you may not yet be able to breathe easy, but know that your dreams are as real and possible as ever. Do not lose hope. Take every rejection as a challenge to succeed, and tackle those Regular Decision applications with all you’ve got. Just one year ago, I was in your shoes, but in the end, I received an acceptance and a phenomenal financial aid package from Yale University — my number one choice. While it’s not yet time to breathe easy, it’s also not yet time to hyperventilate, to have a panic attack, or to go flat out comatose. Take a deep breath. Count to ten.
And get to work.
— by Juliette Grantham, Quest Scholar, Yale ’17
This post was originally published on 10/14/13 on the Quest Scholars Network blog.