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Rejected? Join the club

Jenna Johnson

The envelope is thin and light. If it were an acceptance letter, it would probably be bulkier, right? Or bigger than this standard, boring envelope -- perhaps a huge packet full of information all about how wonderful your undergraduate years will be at the college of your dreams.

But it's just an envelope. And inside is just a letter. And it says something along the lines of, "Sorry, but we don't want you."

This is the time of year when thousands of high school students are rejected by colleges and universities across the country. Being rejected from anything hurts -- choir, sports teams, internships. But being rejected by your dream school can be absolutely devastating.

The Wall Street Journal has a an inspiring story today that every high school senior (and their high-strung parents) needs to read. The article gently reminds students that some of the country's most talented and brilliant individuals were once rejected from their dream schools.

Teenagers who face rejection will be joining good company, including Nobel laureates, billionaire philanthropists, university presidents, constitutional scholars, best-selling authors and other leaders of business, media and the arts.

Warren Buffett told the WSJ that he was rejected by Harvard Business School when he was 19. He was left with this feeling of dread and worried that he would disappoint his father. He dashed off a late application to Columbia -- where he was accepted, found mentors and flourished as a student. (The WSJ also reports that the Buffett family gave more than $12 million to Columbia in 2008.)

"Today" host Meredith Vieira was crushed when Harvard rejected her when she was a high school senior. She instead went to Tufts University, where she found a mentor who sparked her interest in journalism and gave her an internship.

Other rejectees: Broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw, Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and entrepreneur Ted Turner. Obviously, they have done pretty well for themselves.

But, read the story and pass it along to any high school seniors you know. I promise it will make you feel better.

By Jenna Johnson  |  March 24, 2010; 4:31 PM ET
Categories:  Admissions  | Tags: Admissions, Columbia, Harvard, Tufts  
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