Unsigned: The cost of college rejection


Connie Stoga remembers her first college rejection. (Last week.) Oh, happy days.

Connie Stoga remembers her first college rejection. (Last week.) Oh, happy days.

It all started with The Good Ole’ Common Application. She can almost taste the anticipation that fizzled on her tongue as she added 15 colleges to her Common App account, careful with that one specific, uber-special college at the top of the list.

Early decision. It’s time for the application to that one dream college to shine.

Connie can still remember entering Mommy’s credit card information to submit the $60 application fee. The gentle pitter-patter as her fingers flew across the keyboard. She meant to send her SAT scores earlier, but alas, having forgotten, she paid an additional $31 to submit them with all posthaste. One SAT, one College Scholarship Service financial aid profile and three SAT Subject Tests later, her receipt added up to a tidy sum of 60+31+3(12)+25 = $152.

But it wasn’t over yet. She had a few weeks to squeeze in a campus tour and maybe some essay tutoring sessions, which meant gas money and tutor money out of pocket. These payments would pay off, Connie told herself, as she sent off her first college application to her dream college.

That month passed by at the breathtaking pace of a typical school year month. She did her homework, maintained her grades, wrote more essays, worried about college, procrastinated, worried about college and finally, opened up her dream college’s application portal one fateful day to find those fateful words:

“I am very sorry to let you know we are unable to offer you admission. This decision in no way diminishes your application, which we know was completed with thoughtfulness and care.” And money.

“We were inspired by the hopes and dreams your application represents. We were humbled by the talent, commitment, and heart you bring to your academics, extracurricular activities, work, and family responsibilities. Thank you for applying. We enjoyed learning about you.” And taking your money.

After that exhilarating, unrewarding joyride, Connie cannot wait to spend money on her next few rejections.

Dhivya Arasappan/ The Spoke

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