Top high school students are getting waitlisted and rejected from these universities, and they’re not sure why: ‘its so brutal this year’

As high school seniors continue to await decisions from college admissions departments, they’re taking to TikTok to reveal their disheartening results — despite their seemingly competitive applications.

As college-admissions TikTok is making abundantly clear, teenagers these days are feeling the immeasurable pressure of getting accepted by a top-tier school — which, perhaps, in the past would’ve been easier given just how impressive their applications are.

These TikToks, which commonly show teenagers with their faces burrowed in their hands as their statistics flash across the screen, are gaining in popularity. Teenagers are both offering words of wisdom and commiserating in the comments.

High school student @._.ruriko.x0x._ shared a video in which she’s seen covering her eyes. As a sound bite from Encanto plays, we see her personal statistics, along with the universities that have already waitlisted and rejected her:

“getting waitlisted at uci, ucsd, ucsc, usc and rejected from ucla with 4.18 gpa,” reads her caption. “created an organization 6 APS community service job/internship extracurriculars top 9% straight As.”

“like ik community college is not a bad thing but just all the effort i put in hs will go to waste”

Fellow students who are in a similar position as @._.ruriko.x0x._ are sharing how the rejections and waitlists have impacted them mentally, noting that it feels as if all their hard work the last four years was for nothing.

“its so brutal this year,” one TikToker wrote.

“my friends got accepted while i got rejected,” another revealed.

“like ik community college is not a bad thing but just all the effort i put in hs will go to waste,” someone replied.

17-year-old Kaylee (@krrkth_) gave an update on her college admissions journey.


shits wack but at least i got into the rest of the ones i applied to (majorly grateful!!! 8 acceptances❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️) #ucsb #ucdecisions #sdsu #college #collegedecision #rejected #waitlisted #acceptance

♬ never b good enough for you. – allen

“ucsb rejecting me and sdsu waitlisting me with my 9 AP classes 5 extracurriculars/clubs volunteer hours 3.93 UW GPA 4.33 W GPA top 4% of my class 1+ year part time job 2 features in an art show jv sport & club sports” she writes.

“…it’s only 4 years and then your life will move on.”

Unable to “escape college decisions tiktok,” 19-year-old college student Mia (@miaboba.mp3) gave an update on her post-secondary experience so far. A pretty bleak one, at that.

“To the class of 23 who is applying and getting waitlisted this year,” she writes. “I got waitlisted at all of my target/reach schools and now I go to my safety and it’s just as bad as I thought it would be… but it’s only 4 years and then your life will move on.”

“I go to my dream school and I still hate it,” one TikTok user revealed. “there’s no winning, don’t worry.”

“Thank you for this vote of confidence,” another wrote.

“This is why you have to pick safety schools you actually like and would wanna go to,” someone replied.

“It can be difficult for young people to recognize that college admissions decisions are often arbitrary and subjective…”

Dr. Madeleine Vieira, a clinical child psychologist in South Kensington, London, shared her concern surrounding college-admissions TikTok and how it can exacerbate the already growing problem of teenagers feeling pressured to succeed.

“The sharing of college admissions videos on TikTok, where high school students reveal their rejections or waitlist status, can lead to a sense of competition and comparison among teenagers,” Dr. Vieira told In The Know by Yahoo via email. “It can be difficult for young people to recognize that college admissions decisions are often arbitrary and subjective, and that rejection or waitlist status does not necessarily reflect their worth as individuals.”

Providing your children with continuous support during this time, Dr. Vieira says, is an effective way to help preserve their self-worth.

“It is important for parents, educators, and mental health professionals to help teenagers develop a healthy perspective on college admissions and to provide them with support and guidance as they navigate this process,” Dr. Vieira explains. “Encouraging young people to focus on their own personal growth and development, rather than solely on external achievements, can help them build resilience and self-esteem.”

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