Flanders ’09 Appeals Rejection From UC San Diego

This is the third installment in a series following the college admissions process for Seniors at PA. Like other Phillips Academy Seniors, Ali Flanders ’09 heard both good and bad news from colleges last week. Flanders is planning to appeal her rejection at the University of California (UC) at San Diego. Flanders said that she acknowledges the slim chance for UC San Diego’s Admissions Office to have a change of mind. However, even if the appeal proves successful and UC San Diego accepts Flanders, she is not sure that she wants to attend. “Appealing works in one out of five cases, so I’m not really banking on that,” said Flanders. “I’m kind of testing the system, just to see if this works.” Flanders said that she decided to appeal UC San Diego’s college decision in order to keep all of her college options open. “I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to think that maybe if I’d have tried harder I would have gotten in,” said Flanders. UC San Diego was among one of the universities that would not accept teacher recommendations with the original application, so Flanders will send some of her recommendations as part of her appeal. Flanders was accepted at four of the 11 schools to which she applied: the University of California (UC) at Irvine, UC Santa Cruise, UC Santa Barbara and the University of Colorado at Boulder. From the start, Flanders bucked the trend in refusing to apply to any safety or “reach” schools. She said that she did not want to consider applying to a school that she had no intentions of attending. When last interviewed for The Phillipian, Flanders said that she was confident that she would be accepted at UC Boulder. She said that UC Boulder had never rejected a Phillips Academy student, and reasoned that it would be extremely unlikely for her to receive a rejection letter. UC Boulder was the closest to a safety school to which Flanders applied. While Flanders originally said that UC Boulder was one of her top choices, UC Santa Barbara has now taken the lead. Flanders said that UC Santa Barbara appeals most to her because it is one of the few universities in the United States to own a private beach, and it ranks in the top 50 of all American universities. Flanders’s acceptance at UC Santa Barbara may appease her parents, who requested only that she attend a college that they had heard of before, or better yet, a college in the top 100 of universities in the United States. Flanders is also considering the possibility of taking a gap year before attending college in the fall of 2010. “I’ve got choices, and I’m still open to an interim or gap year,” said Flanders. Flanders is taking her other college rejections in stride, viewing them as an unexpected twist. “I got rejected by a lot of places,” said Flanders. “I’ve always gotten into my top choice school [like] Andover…and I like the fact that now my life plan is going to have to change.” In looking back on her college application experience, Flanders calls the process “surprising.” “I didn’t get into some of the colleges that I thought I’d get into,” said Flanders. “I have been overconfident and lucky,” she continued. “It’s exciting, in a bad way.” Flanders said that she in no way blames the College Counseling Office for her rejections, and acknowledges a highly competitive admissions year. “[This year] was rougher than anyone even imagined,” said Flanders. “I know that only I can get myself into college. The school didn’t reject Phillips Academy or the College Counseling Office—maybe I just didn’t deserve to get in.”