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Jan 23 2016
by Sandy Gooen

10 Reasons I'm Thankful for a NO from a Dream School

By Sandy Gooen - Jan 23 2016
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It's not all over if you get a no or a maybe from your dream school. College admission is a tricky thing. I know that right now it's tough on kids who got rejected, deferred, or are waiting purely on regular decision... Last year, I got rejected by the Vocal Performance program at Juilliard. It was the hardest "NO" I have ever faced in my life. I'm still embarrassed by it, so I was reluctant to even name the school.

But I want to quote my rejection email, a line I ignored:

"The assessment of your current application materials is in no way a reflection on your potential as a performing artist."

They were right. It wasn't the end of my musical career. I'm still singing, and I'm a music major at Barnard. It's a great program. Here are 10 reasons I am thankful for that rejection letter:


10. Sleep. 

I rehearse several hours a day, but the constant commuting and other performances and extra voice lessons would be treacherous.

9. Commiseration. 

I am one of thousands of people who did not get in, many of my friends included. We joke about it all the time.

8. Exposure. 

The real world is going to be full of auditions I don't book. It was an honor to even audition and it was helpful to have some practice and hard work under my belt.

7. Food for Thought. 

I revisited all my tapes and audition materials and began to see what I could improve. I've been working from there ever since.

6. Humility. 

It was my only rejection, but it made me feel more grateful for the acceptances, and less invincible.

5. Motivation. 

It gave me a reason to try to get better at music.

4. Competition. 

This school is wildly competitive, but not as severe as a school known as the best in the country for its music program.

3. Non-arts people. 

I have friends here who totally have nothing to do with the arts and it broadens my world view.

2. Freedom

I am free to do voice and composition and take other subjects in a non-conservatory format.

1. Experience

My friends and my time here at Barnard are invaluable and I wouldn't trade them for anything.


As Stephen Sondheim once wrote, 

"Dreams don't die, so keep an eye on your dreams!"

You can do it, class of 2020. I believe in you.

Photo Credit: USA Today

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Sandy Gooen - Barnard College

Sandy Gooen is a first-year at Barnard College studying neuroscience and music. She loves rugby, writing and performing. She’s best known for spontaneous jump-splits. She once took her cello, Tawny, to banquet as her date. You can check her out on Facebook as herself or on Lulu.com as Di Gaon!

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