A Non-Traditional Rejection Letter

by 10:16 PM 2 comments
I've received a lot of rejection letters in my life, and they have all followed the same formula. They look like this:



Dear Marina Duvall/Gafni,

Thank you for your interest in our program. You are a super person!

This year, a lot of people want to join our program/university/orchestra/whatever. We got x number of applications. Some of those people were more skilled than you are.

With this in mind, we regret to inform you that we are unable to accept you at this time. Best of luck in all of your future endeavors!

Director of Admissions

A lot of these letters have made me cry. A lot of them made me angry. But I've never gotten a rejection letter that confused me, until this weekend.

I have known I was either rejected or waitlisted at San Francisco State University for a while, thanks to thegradcafe.com. Interviews happened this month on the tenth, and I wasn't contacted, so the news obviously wasn't good. When I reached into the mailbox and saw a thin envelope, I wasn't at all surprised. But I still had to re-read this a few times:

Huh? They really broke all the rules with this rejection letter. There's no mention of the fact that I applied with all the correct documents, my application was considered, how hard it was for them to make the decision, how I had super qualifications, nothing! The first paragraph is all about the admissions committee. You completed your task of selecting candidates? Ok...good job?

Then when they get to why they denied my application, all it says is "program is now full." It makes it sound like I applied late, and it's all about how fast the application got there. Actually, the program is now full with other applicants, who sent in their stuff at the same time, but were better qualified. And that's okay! But please tell me that!

At least I got some good wishes for my "future endeavors." Thanks, Jenny!

Actually, I'm taking this all in very good spirits because I did get into three other programs so far, so I'm feeling good! But this letter was kind of bizarre, much like the SFSU info session I attended and got a parking ticket at, which is a different story.

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni is a 28-year-old speech pathology student. She lives with her husband in San Jose, CA.


  1. Wow, sounds like you've had a rough time with SFSU. :[

    I'm still very confused by them as well. Last month, they notified me via email that I was waitlisted. Last week, they sent me postal mail stating that they had erroneously sent me a Letter of Denial and are correcting their error. Then 20 minutes ago, they emailed me stating that my university application has been sent to the department for review. 0_0

    Anyway, I'm glad to know that you were accepted at other places that are probably a much better fit for you. I was accepted to a few programs myself.

    Good luck to both of us! :D

  2. Umm, what? That's ridiculous! Oh well, I'm glad you got into another school so you don't have to worry about working with these scatterbrains. :)