For the Struggling Students

Senior reflects on trials of college applications


Amy Collins, Staff Writer

Photo submitted by Milin Goldstein

The process of applying to colleges can be a very stressful and nerve-racking experience, especially while waiting to hear back from your top schools. Senior Milin Goldstein knows what it is like to be rejected from top universities. 

“I got rejected from USC, Manoa, Stanford, Chicago, Emory and Columbia,” he said. “I got waitlisted at Vanderbilt, Rice and Washington.”  

Goldstein recalls what his thoughts were when he first found out he got denied.

“I initially got rejected from Chicago which was not really a surprise because it is one of the most selective schools in the country — it was a long shot,” he said. “The second school that got back was Michigan and I got in. I knew I had a top school I could go to if I didn’t get in anywhere else, so it wasn’t as crushing [to] me. I still was nervous, but it wasn’t nearly as bad because I knew I had [Michigan] to fall back.”

Goldstein learned a lot through the college application process, especially about how a lot of it is out of the applicant’s control.

“It’s taught me how randomized the college process is,” Goldstein said. “I know people that got waitlisted at Michigan and got accepted to Cornell. I don’t even think colleges know what they want. Most people that apply are qualified, and it’s a randomized choice of who gets in who doesn’t.”

Goldstein pointed out some flaws with the application process.

“With the essays, especially with the activities list, you can exaggerate because they’re not really fact-checked by the universities so it’s just a competition,” Goldstein said. “It’s taught me the college process is just a lot of baloney.”

To get to know the applicants and try to sort through thousands of applications to decide who should get in, colleges have students respond to specific prompts.

“I remember there was one for Stanford about what’s the biggest problem in the world,” he said. “You had 50 characters to answer, so it was stupid because how are you going to judge somebody off of that?”

In the end, Goldstein has decided to attend UCLA and major in biology

“It is the number-one public university in the country; it’s also in a nice area where it’s not in the center of LA — it’s right outside Beverly Hills,” Goldstein said. “The campus is not super long, so it’s easy to walk. [There is] good weather, and then, the best thing I thought, a quarter system because you have more free time and you can explore more classes.”

Goldstein offers some advice for other students dealing with rejection from their top schools or unsure feelings about their decision. 

“Find the person you are,” Goldstein said. “College is only four years of your life. Even though the college you go to can set that up, you choose your path after that. You’re not going to regret your entire life based on your college experience. No matter what college you go to, if you’re invested in it and meet people you like, college will be a good experience.”