The San Francisco Examiner looks into one high school psych class that gives out a prize to the student who got the most rejection letters this year:
Harvard is running head and shoulders above the rest in the “most obsequious while maintaining utter insincerity” category. Harvard lets students know how “very sorry” they are to reject them. They then bestow three wishes, none of which they grant. First, Harvard wishes that they were writing with a different decision. Second, they wish that it was possible to admit the rejectee. Finally, they hope the student they deny will accept their best wishes.
Lots of schools are vying for the “most emphatic rejection” prize. Cornell is leading the race, informing students in consecutive sentences that the electronic rejection they are reading will be confirmed in a follow-up letter that will make the rejection official. We don’t want you. Get it? We really don’t want you. The “snuff out all hopes” double rejection strategy appears to be colleges’ latest attempt to improve their U.S. News & World Report selectivity rating. Two rejections for the price of one. What tipped the scale in Cornell’s favor is that they even include an invitation for you to visit their Web site to get information about applying to transfer to Cornell after your freshman year, so they can reject you again.
The grand prize for “total insensitivity” is presented to Reed College. One student applied to Reed and when the college failed to notify him that they had received his materials, the student sent a polite follow-up letter inquiring about his status. Reed sent him back what was apparently intended to be an interoffice memo which read “he’s a deny.” Reed’s selection as biggest overall loser precludes them from “shortest rejection” contention.
The best student sensitivity suggestion this year advised admissions’ offices to adopt the relationship break-up line, “it’s not you, it’s us.” The recipient of “He’s a deny” sent a raft of improvement suggestions to Reed and concluded his five pages of suggestions by letting the school know that they should feel “free to send apology or ‘he’s an admit’” letter. He got the apology only.