Monday, 8 April 2013

Suzy lee Weiss' Open Letter to the Colleges That Rejected Her

Suzy Lee Weiss
Thank god! I thought I was the only one who felt slightly inferior and bitter when I applied to university six years ago. But no....a high school senior in America by the name of Suzy Lee Weiss has come forward and written an open letter to the colleges which rejected her, which has now spread like wildfire on the internet- And before you discredit her for being a sour college rejectee, sit tight because she makes a few valid points.

Colleges tell you, "Just be yourself." That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.- Suzy Lee Weiss

My little brother is now receiving university offers and I can see how excited he is-(boy they grow up fast!). But it wasn't until his personal statement was re-written at-least ten times, to the point where the heroic man on the piece of paper didn't sound like my cheeky brother at all. In fact he was depicted as an angel who never put a foot wrong. I also found his years of volunteer services hard to recall- But hey! If this was what it took for him to get into university, then I guess he was this make-believe character indeed. Sod the 'just be yourself' advice Weiss and the application process to higher education refers to. Being yourself won't give you an offer of institutional acceptance.

I too was a heroine and my future was set to be a rosy array of money, intelligent fame and immense happiness. As my superhuman personal statement began to take form, on the other side of the screen- there I was, an overweight, lazy, anti-social ball of clutter, promoting my supposed extra-curricular activities, natural academia and advanced social skills. In reality, team sports made me cringe, I considered day-dreaming my favourite subject at school and had such a strict Muslim upbringing that even if I wanted to, I wasn't allowed go out after school or the weekends at all. 

For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would've happily come out of it. "Diversity!" I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would've been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.- Suzy Lee Weiss

Speaking of religion, Weiss makes another valid point about universities wanting to accept diversity, much to the dismay of her white middle-class upbringing. However, critics of her letter have pointed out that ethnic minorities have found it tough to gain admission into universities on the same par as their English counterparts. True fact from the critics. Those ethnic minorities who do make the grade, really ARE rocket scientists, ARE fruitfully intelligent and ARE paving way for this worlds leading professions. They're becoming eminent leaders and I believe it's due to this view from the top that Weiss touched upon race. Applying to the top universities in the UK wasn't an option for me, because I knew I wouldn't have a shot in hell within the rat race. My alternative view that Muslim women CAN succeed creatively has always been more important to me. 
As far as the universities
I applied for were concerned,
 I was bubbly, outgoing
and great fun to be with. 

My conclusion? Yes I agree that higher education is sugar coating the road to success and when many fail to nab lucrative university places- the sense of failure is far greater than it should be. We're lead to believe that the application process is easy, because 'being yourself' is easy. The high school institution has caught up and are now telling students to lie in the portrayal of themselves. What next? Giving shy children cans of red bull for their secondary school admissions to bring out their hyper talkative selves? How much do you REALLY know about yourself at 17/18 anyways? I'm 23 and still learning new things about myself. My only legitimate concern for now though...I hope my brother survives this weird attempt for making him become someone he's not. 

Read her full letter on The Wall Street Journal 


  1. You didn't have a chance because you were thoroughly mediocre, not because you're Asian. In fact, British universities actively discriminate in favour of ethnic minorities these days.

    1. I already knew I didn't stand a chance with the top universities, that's why I didn't apply :) I agree that many universities do encourage and take on a lot more ethnic minorities than before, but there are still active cases of discrimination towards ethnic minorities. To say that discrimination towards ethnic minorities is wholly removed is ridiculous.


Drop me your thoughts !

© Jabeen Waheed | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig