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MIT student blogger Cristen C. '10

Rejects, I feel your pain! by Cristen C. '10

I've never been stung by a bee, but I imagine it felt sort of like that?

Today I got an email from MIT that directed me to a website which linked to the following letter:

Dear Ms. C:

I am truly sorry to inform you that we are not offering you admission to MIT in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

The number of applicants for admission to the Graduate School greatly exceeds the number which can be accommodated and it has been necessary to refuse admission to some fine applicants.

We appreciate your interest in MIT and sincerely hope that you may be able to continue with your professional studies elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Stuart Schmill
Dean of Admssions

Now is no time to despair!
Lucky for us, we’re smart cookies. We applied to more schools than just MIT, thereby opening up more options for us. And since we’re such smart cookies, we’ve probably gotten in to some other schools!

So what’ll it be for me next year? University of Pennsylvania or Cornell University? :) If anyone thinks I should choose one place over the other, let me know…


It happens to the best of us.

Wait until you apply for jobs… then you don’t even receive a proper rejection – you just plain don’t hear back. It sort of hurts, and is a bit annoying – can’t corporations spare the two minutes to write a standard email to send so they couldn’t stop waiting, stop hoping, and move on?

Which means that, well, you have to handle the waiting/hoping/moving on independently. Like a delicate new relationship, you can’t be too clingy on one person/place/thing.


I’m in a relationship at the moment. If anyone cares to know, MIT has tons of beautiful, charming people with amazing, fascinating personalities. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. :)


Back to what I was trying to say before.

One rejection does not a big picture make. In other words, there’s a bigger world to enjoy! ^__^ (Yes, it’s still all there.)

Honestly, I had been terrified of not getting into any school. But even in that case, all you can do is be prepared; I would’ve tried to find a decent internship or job and applied again the following year. Life takes twists and turns, but even a rejection can’t really derail things that badly if you kept sight of the bigger picture.

What is your plan?

51 responses to “Rejects, I feel your pain!”

  1. Ryan 16? says:

    Hopefully I will be accepted in 2 years.

  2. oasis '11 says:

    I didn’t know Stu also signs grad decisions…

    but good luck cristen! smile

  3. YES, we know the world is bigger but it is not easy to change dreams in one night

  4. Armin says:

    Cristen,
    It has a been a long time since I questioned myself: where is this place in your blog banner?

    Weaving machines, textile related? Can you let us know, please.

  5. Ruslan says:

    Impossible is Nothing…
    I know that…)))
    Good luck Everybody

  6. PDowling says:

    Sadly wasn’t admitted either… I’m going to be working in an IT company next year, and I have some other projects going on. I’ll probably apply again next year, since i was planning to take a gap year anyway, and then i’ll apply to a bunch of other schools aswell.

    Hahaha, captcha: the whippets

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s very courageous of you to post this and I’m sure there are many other great schools that would be more than willing to admit you.Best of luck!
    p.s.I find it really unusual for MIT to reject their own student for grad school.

  8. Katie says:

    ooo! Penn! I love Cornell, but it’s truly out in the middle of nowhere, and personally, I enjoy being near a city for all the cultural events.

    Sorry you got the big R. I would’ve thought MIT would know that its graduates are the best!

  9. Amethyst says:

    It would be sort of the other way ’round for me: I imagine being stung by a bee would be a bit like getting rejected, but I don’t know because I think I’m allergic to bees so I’m avoiding it at all costs (getting stung, I mean). smile

    Sorry about your rejection! Hey, don’t worry–what will happen, will happen. And those other schools are awesome. Just remember that you are, too!

    Man, I know I’m still stuck–I spent 45 min. looking through the MIT Hack Gallery online, and have developed a suspicious obsession with integrals and modern architecture…good motivation, though raspberry
    I have recently come to the unfortunate realization that if I get into Harvard, I will most likely I will have to go there, since they are pretty much the only one of my colleges where I could choose what courses to take freshman year (and thereby be able to take a few more math/science courses to help my MIT transfer app along). I mean, it’s a great school, but–*Harvard?? Gasps!!* Lol…

    OMG ironic ReCaptcha!! “the excludes”

    Cheers, fellas!

  10. Brad says:

    Hey Christen,
    I’m waiting to hear back from Cornell on the 1st of April. It’s nice of you to post the letter and situation it really helps me to think that at least for the rejected students, even MIT students can’t get in everywhere.
    If I do get into Cornell then I’m definitely going to be rooting for you to go there lol.

  11. Avishek says:

    Wowowo you probably may not be knowing how much you make me wonder at times… you simply help me understand how exciting this life is, beautifully painted with colours of success and failures..

    Just so love the simplicity of your posts and the feelings that it conveys is awsome.

    I am truly disheartened by the fact of the email posted above but the beauty lies at you realising the ‘bigger, better picture’ of the world.

    Wishing you unlimted success and glory in times to come.
    Good Luck Cristen!!

  12. Hello, Cristen Di*,
    Although I have not studied in UPenn or Cornell, but I think Cornell University would be a better option.
    Other than going through rankings and all, Wikipedia articles on both universities, I am sure Cornell is far better. smile raspberry (check wikipedia) raspberry

    I believe that you will be building the biggest things (buildings, cities, continents) in the world, maybe on Mars also in the time to come, as you will be the best in your field of work, and as dreams come true with hardwork. Best Wishes for your future!

    Note- *Di/ Didi means Sister in Hindi smile
    For My Plans, I will be trying to pursue my aim, that is to make the world a better place through science and technology. And I will find a way to do that.

    Goodluck Again !
    Thanks !
    Sambheet Krishna

  13. Anonymous says:

    Also illustrates the rule: Always Have a Safety. And Cornell is always a good safety.

  14. Anonymous says:

    CORNELL University FTW

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cornell is so much better than Penn

  16. Anonymous says:

    Cornell a safety? It might not be a first choice in everything, but they’re not a safety. Maybe a good fit or lesser reach, but I think safeties are places like the in-state U or Georgia Tech, RPI, etc.

  17. Oh My God!!! MIT I love ya!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why would MIT reject its own? I’m finding it a little weird.

  19. Jochi Pochi says:

    Hi Cristen
    I find it a little bit weird that MIT didn’t accept it’s own students, but hey things will probably go great for you no matter where you go smile
    On the other hand, does that mean that you are going to stop being a blogger after you graduate? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO -Cries-
    Hope to be able to meet you someday, I’ll miss your blogs, you seem to be a very interesting person for what I read about them smile

  20. Anonymous says:

    Yeah seriously Cornell is not a safety school.It’s one of the best hence it’s hard to get into.

  21. Anonymous says:

    hey.. thanks for posting this post.. it must be really hard for you.. but you still reached out to us to make us feel better.. thank a lot.. u succeeded smile.. n all the best to you.. May God Bless You And Be With You Always.. best of luck

  22. MX says:

    ___ mfmtrq

    offering admission to Aafia Siddiqi is not MIT’s fault. she’s indeed exceptionally strong in academic and..perhaps leadership and taking risks??

    still love MIT and will apply there, im a junior now.

    not sure if the Muslim Student Association still exits;

  23. mary says:

    MIT!!!!!!! I love u too !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! smile

    thanx cristen!!!!!! that is inspirational!!!!!! smile
    I’m on the undergrad waitlist, but i’m also waiting for a reply from Cornell and Notre Dame smile
    Goodluck!!!!!!!!!!!! smile

  24. Hmmm…I think one of the most infamous MIT alumni is Benjamin Netanyahu…look at what happened in Palestine!

  25. Phillip says:

    @ Armin
    The location in MIT’s Civil Dept I believe. On the third floor right beside Lobby 7 to the left, if I remember correctly.

  26. Anonymous says:

    No, you don’t. You spent 4 years in M.I.T
    We’re going to spend the rest of our lives no where.

  27. MIT '14 (2) says:

    The Unabomber went to Harvard.

  28. Matt says:

    Like thousands of my fellow applicants, Pi day did not bring good news for me. In fact I was already in a slump for barely missing top-10 at the state academic team tournament because of a couple stupid mistakes on my exam. Strange as it is, getting rejected was kind of liberating. MIT was my only “reach” school really, so wherever I end up won’t be as prestigious and exotic as MIT, but even knowing that I am in no way depressed about their decision. In fact if I had gotten in, my financial literacy would have told me not to go anyway since I’ve been paid enormous scholarships to go in state (two of them literally exceeding a full ride). So if anything, I guess it made my college decision a bit easier. I’ll try again for grad school, rest assured, but for undergrad I’m totally content elsewhere. =]

  29. Val says:

    I heard that Cornell has really high student suicide rate…probably becasue of its weather and environment?? But I guess you can do well if you’re good at coping with stress and gloomy weather. :-D

    ReCaptcha:criticism godless?!

  30. 42 says:

    MIT wont get any smaller with this idiot Pakistani’s accusations !

    reCaptcha: the twiddled

    >>Is there some tradition to mention the captcha words at the end of a comment ? raspberry

  31. 42 says:

    Aye, Cristen ! Where are you standing in this picture :

  32. Oh, does it mean that admission can reject applicants just because their religion background??
    because I’m Tunisian Muslim and I was rejected this month although I’m excellent student in my country

  33. Daniel WL'14 says:

    Hey, Cristen, I was waitlisted, and I hav Cornell and UPenn as my #2 as well, though I prefer Cornell to Upenn. (I hear from em at the end of March)

    Go to Cornell! =]

    Captcha: the shrewish

  34. Armin says:

    @mfmtrq
    Donno if your information is correct. however I point Donald Sadoway’s talk: So, I know that you’re going to do something remarkable in your professional lives. I hope it’s remarkably wonderful and not remarkably stupid…

    @Some of other commentators
    I applied to Cornell too. Since I’m a transfer and they accept good number of transfer students. And I like what the founder of Cornell says: I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.
    Sounds like lots of diversity, and New York itself is diverse.

  35. Caio not '14 says:

    Even MIT students are sometimes not admitted to MIT. Sad irony :

    Your other picks are amazing, though. Sometimes, change is necessary, opening new horizons, points of view and possibilities to explore. I hope you can make it! :D

    @mfmtrq
    So now you think that the MIT admissions committee has magic mirrors and crystal balls to predict the future? Most of the MIT alumni are inspiring and brilliant. Their ideas and contributions to the world saved much more lives than the destruction caused by those terrorists.

  36. cristen says:

    wow, y’all are sweet. and strange. and then sweet again. =]

    btw the LOCATION of that picture is room 7-408. those giant things you see behind me are plotters (printers which print paper 3 feet wide and as long as you wish!). this room also has a color letter printer, a color tabloid printer, a black and white printer, a photocopier, a fume hood, a paper cutting thing, and a laser cutter. great resource for us architecture students. smile

  37. joemill says:

    I salute your guts for posting something like this. But like what you said, you’re one of those smart cookies so need worry not. The world isn’t blind to not notice you.

  38. Anirban Shaw says:

    i believe MIT has the best personalities n charm…… wink)

    btw the day i get that AWFULL letter……i will lock my door n jst cry fr a day……..i will be prepared…..but the thot f rejection breaks me down……it really jst….. ;-((
    but im hopeful tho…..very hopeful grin

  39. Anirban Shaw says:

    i.e. if i get that AWFUL letter

    js addin…..frgt to preview it frst dis tym…. :-DD

  40. Wang Wei says:

    Hi Cristen!

    I’ve been following your posts for over a year now and find them (and your life) really inspiring!!

    I also got a very similar letter… and I know how it feels..
    Anyways knowing the answer is kind of like a liberation for me… the uncertainties are finally over and it’s time to narrow down and make a decision.

    whichever your destination might be, I sincerely hope and know that you will do great!!

    See you improving human society!!

  41. CeeJay says:

    Hi Cristen – Enough with the Penn bashing – While Cornell has a lot to offer and is a gorgeous school, Penn has a really vibrant urban atmosphere that is hard to find in upstate NY. Ultimately the decision is yours, but I don’t think you can go wrong selecting Penn.

  42. Snad says:

    hopefully transferring after a year or two at a crummy university…UMass here i come :(

  43. Barbara says:

    Wow! City and Regional Planning at Cornell, is that the department you are looking at? Wow, that makes you an architect! (Excuse my ignorance. I came to this blog entry through the comprehensive RSS feed for MIT bloggers and I don’t always remember everyone’s courses. Also I don’t know many architects).

    I am just so excited to see that other people like my school enough to want to come here! I can’t really say much about the College of Architecture since I’m an Arts&Sciences; student myself, but I hope you get to weigh out everything that matters before you make your decision and best of luck for wherever you do decide on going!

  44. Aww… my sympathies. I got rejected from MIT twice (took out a gap year and reapplied) and know exactly how you feel :(

    Anyhoo, you got into other wonderful grad schools so yay! And I got into Caltech so yay again!

    Captcha: minor percents.

  45. If you didn’t get rejected from at least one school, you did something wrong. In life you try, you reach, and yes, sometimes you fall short. But you get back up, dust yourself off and move on. It’s hard, but it’s part of being human.
    I got a rejection letter last year and I was very disappointed. However, I went to a different school (with much nicer weather) and am extremely happy here. While MIT is still amazing and I still hope to go there for grad school, I love where I am now and don’t regret anything.
    Kudos to you, Cristen, for being so brave and sharing this with everyone. You have realized what some people fail to: life is not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it. I wish you the best where ever you end up (both of those schools are obviously excellent and congratulations on getting in). Clearly, you have a very bright future ahead and I look forward to seeing great things come from you.

  46. A parent says:

    MIT probably is minimizing in house breeding when it comes to graduate school admissions.

    Unless you have a strong bias for a particular MIT research lab, it should help you big picture wise by going beyond MIT. An MIT bachelor’s degree is a glaring enough, permanent mark on your forehead for the rest of your life. Good luck, Cristen!

  47. Tim ('14?) says:

    I don’t know the specifics of your grad school program, but I would go with UPenn!

    As for me, hopefully I will get into Columbia or Brown, then I’ll be applying to transfer next year.

  48. Anonymous says:

    When was the last time Penn made sweet 16?

  49. fioni says:

    gooood luck cristen smile) !!
    I would say Penn for Cornell is in the middle of nowhere..haha~

  50. joseph rapp says:

    4 years will zip past in no time and then its not so much “where you from?” as much as “what can you do?” Dont forget : Some of the topmost movers & shakers in technology did not even attend a college let alone attend MIT, UPenn or Cornell!