According to the Internet, Northeastern University’s acceptance rate is 31.9%. I try to keep this statistic in perspective whenever I encounter someone incredibly dumb in one of my courses or interact with a student who thinks their brain is worthy of being studied.I also try to remember that college ranking systems are extremely overstated and arbitrary so we shouldn’t put as much weight into them as the school would like us to.
Now, I would not consider myself to be the brightest of people. Math and I are mortal enemies and I think science is the devil’s magic. But I will say that I’m an extremely passionate student who puts in way more effort than he needs to in order to succeed. I’ve also made it a priority to be active in school Over the course of my three years at Northeastern I’ve been on the executive board of two student groups, performed in plays, wrote for student magazines and this past year I was awarded a Junior Scholars Award, an honor given to the top quarter of Communication majors.
I’m not writing this because I think I’m better than everyone. I’m writing it because I transferred to Northeastern University and would have most likely been rejected if I had applied as a senior. You see, I was not in the top 30% of my graduating class. I didn’t get mind blowing SAT scores nor was my college essay Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. I was a good student, struggling to come into his own and too immature to really take control of my academic career.
At Northeastern I’ve excelled because I’m finally mature enough to take my academics seriously and I am able to study something that doesn’t make me want to swallow hot coals. But when I first came to Northeastern I was worried that I wouldn’t succeed because I wasn’t part of that 31.9%. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up and I was afraid that people would think of me as less capable.
And I can’t say that my fears weren’t somewhat legitimate. At many colleges there is a stigma against transfer students. Some people believe that transfer students are the ones who weren’t smart enough to get into the school in the first place or view them as some sort of foreign intruder. If you go to Northeastern, you’ve most likely heard someone scoff at an NUIn student, saying that they were the last draft pick for Northeastern. The same often goes for transfer students.
I know that if I had applied to Northeastern as a senior that I most likely wouldn’t have gotten in. But that doesn’t make me feel lesser than my peers now that I’m here. I take the same classes, live in the same dorms, eat the same upsetting dining hall sushi. And it has helped me to realize that whole 31.9% thing is complete and utter bullshit.You don’t need to be in the top 30% of your class to excel in college. You just need to be passionate about school and willing to put in the work needed to succeed. In fact, I know certain kids that were the top of their class who know have a C average in all of their courses. And it isn’t because they aren’t intelligent- its that they thought they were intelligent enough to coast through college without putting in any effort. But college isn’t about coasting, it’s about taking advantage of the academic opportunity you’re being offered and I think schools would benefit if they took into account that intelligence and work ethic don’t always go hand in hand.
I think part of the reason why I’ve succeeded at Northeastern is because I’ve wanted to prove to both myself and my peers that I deserve to be here. But after three years, do I really have anything left to prove? Does it really matter where I started out if I walk out of Northeastern with one of their diplomas? My hope is that this article reminds students, both current and prospective, that we are more than some stupid acceptance rate. Just because you don’t get into Northeastern doesn’t mean 69% (or whatever the math is) of students are smarter or better than you. The college acceptance process is way more political than that. So keep in mind that colleges are businesses, often with undisclosed intentions, who exist to make money and build prestige. At least Northeastern exists for that reason.
If you feel judged, prove your worth. Study harder than your classmate and get the highest grade on the test. Be more involved, make your presence more known. Once you’re accepted to the school there’s no stopping you. And on a side note, I think administrators would benefit if they focused a bit more energy on making current students happy. Because at the end of the day no one gives a flying fuck if you have a 31.9% acceptance rate if NONE OF YOUR PRINTERS WORK! Seriously, if you expect people to pay $50,000 to attend your institution you better fucking have working printers.
So in case you’re skimming this article, here’s the main points: Don’t be an elitist fucker, all students are created equal, acceptance rates are tacky, college administrators need to sort out their priorities, and someone needs to fix the printer situation or I will continue to steal all the cereal from the dining halls and write passive aggressive blogs.