Getting into college or university is a big deal. You’re making your family proud and you’re taking long strides toward your dreams and goals, all while you’re already making a mental list of all the courses you’ll be taking. Being a college student is a great time to be alive! Unfortunately, far from everyone gets in.

Oh, and it’s not just your grades that can make you slip up—there are far more bizarre reasons for angering college admission officers. Some of those include cheating, plagiarizing, and having little to no respect for anyone who isn’t you. Getting into college doesn’t happen automatically just because you meet the necessary grade minimum.

Redditors have been sharing stories about the times they had to reject college applicants and went into detail about the exact circumstances. This shows that the human factor might actually be more important than many would-be students realize. Check out the most interesting stories below, dear Pandas, and upvote the ones that intrigued you. If you’re feeling up to it, share your own stories about how you applied to college (and whether your heart was beating as fast as mine was when you got the admission letter).

#1

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I worked in the back of the admissions office with all the paperwork/application when I was in college. If you weren't absolutely amazing, the smallest thing could cause a rejection - being rude to the people in our call center (who also processed applications) was a big one on the list. The six women who worked there were SO nice to everyone on the phone and were still called stupid c**ts a couple times. Those students were rejected.

bwayc , Pavel Danilyuk Report

Carmen Sandiego
Community Member
1 year ago

Correct.

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#2

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I rejected a student who applied to our PhD program to work with me because she PLAGIARIZED MY PAPER in the personal essay of her application. Who does that?

anonymous , Anna Shvets Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 year ago

Someone who shouldn't be in any PhD program unless it's for Pizza Hut Delivery.

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#3

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I'm a teacher--one of the students I work with just had his acceptance to Stanford rescinded. He's a low-income minority student with an excellent GPA and ACT scores. On paper, he's a score for schools that value talent and diversity. So he got accepted to Stanford.

When he got the letter, he tweeted AT STANFORD saying something like "F yeah, I got in." That prompted them to click on his Twitter and they saw all this F up s*** about misogyny and drug use. They called our school and told us that they no longer were interested in admitting him as a student.

anonymous , Marten Bjork Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 year ago

So he wasn't that bright after all.

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Getting accepted to university—especially if it ranks among the top educational institutions in your country or worldwide—doesn’t happen by chance. Hard work really does pay off when we’re talking about applications. It’s a long-term project, too.

In essence, getting into college is similar to applying for a job that you desperately want. Your extracurricular activities, volunteering experience, ambitions, confidence, and charisma all play a vital role in helping you stand out from all the other candidates. The main difference, however, is that obviously grades still play a vital role when trying to get into college. They matter quite a bit, though I’d argue that who you are as a person and your drive hold far more weight when it’s time to make a decision.

#4

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Super late to the party, but my mom is an admissions counselor (i know i'm sorry i'm not one) but the worst story i've heard from here goes like this: The student was outstanding, top gpa, test scores, good essay, but my mom had never heard of the school. So she does some searching and can't find anything on the school (odd), so she types in the address on google maps. What she finds is an abandoned school, which turns out no one has attended for YEARS. Kid forged the entire application, I thought it was impressive, but she did not. Instant deny.

dersmart , Nitram242 Report

denzoren
Community Member
1 year ago

Oh wow....maybe there is a degree or field that needs that type of expertise...someone call the FBI or CIA.

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#5

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I rejected another student to our (science) PhD program because he said he "didn't believe in data" during our interview.

anonymous , LinkedIn Sales Solutions Report

Natalie Bohrteller
Community Member
1 year ago

In which 'science' was he hoping to do his PhD? Astrology?

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#6

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student The student came into the admissions office high as hell. Handed in his CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECK which reeked of weed. He was applying to the Child Youth Care program. That guy was an idiot.

waikiki_sneaky , Tima Miroshnichenko Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
1 year ago

Drugs aren't known for helping people think more rationally.

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Your journey toward the university quad doesn’t begin during your last year in high school. No! It starts further back, as soon as you enter through your high school’s gates. What you accomplish over the years can reflect very positively on you or actually harm your chances of getting into a good school.

If you spent the last four years lazing about, odds are, you won’t become a studious and energetic student the moment you start your undergraduate degree. (That’s not to say that people don’t change—they do; however, this takes longer than we’d like.) What you can do, however, is manage your online presence to present yourself in the best possible light.

#7

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I'm not a college admissions officer, but...

There is a scholarship in my area provided by a business. It's an amazing opportunity and I never thought I would get it. Well, lo and behold I get it. The organization has a representative at my school so I asked her why I got picked. She asked me what I wrote my essay about and I told her. I was at camp one year and I helped a girl with some serious problems.

She then told me that both scholarship people and colleges have gotten to the point that they will turn you down if you write about how the mission trip you went on changed your life. They're sick of it. Freaking everyone goes on a mission trip, sees starving children and suddenly their life is changed. She says that they totally support missions and the things they do, but she also said "If you write about the mission trip you went on, you may go to heaven but you won't go to Havard."

anonymous , Alexander Dummer Report

Samantha Lomb
Community Member
1 year ago

Utah? Sounds like a lot of Mormons applying cause mission trips aren't super common outside of Mormon and some evangelical communities

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#8

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Just graduated college last summer, worked in the undergraduate admissions office for 4 years as a student ambassador (tour guide, shadow host, etc) and as an admissions counselor's assistant. Worst case i've seen is a kid openly admit in his application essay that he was a habitual cheater throughout high school but it taught him how to become resourceful and think outside the box. I've never seen an application get denied faster.

fiesta_on , RODNAE Productions Report

ra tlau
Community Member
1 year ago

atleast he was being honest

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#9

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I was on the admission committee at my med school. One time we had an applicant who's personal statement started out saying, in all seriousness, that he wanted to be a doctor because a doctor's white coat or a surgeon's scrubs are aphrodisiacs. It was an insta-denial.

HayleeVZ , JESHOOTS.COM Report

Gossameringue
Community Member
1 year ago

Now I know what to wear next Valentine's Day

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Good grades and a portfolio of philanthropic and extracurricular activities don’t appear overnight out of nowhere. They take time, dedication, and—in my opinion, most importantly—passion. Volunteering at your local soup kitchen will look great on your college application and resume alike, however, don’t do it just because it’s ‘expected’ of you or because you believe that’s how you’ll end up getting into a prestigious higher learning institution. That’s simply lying to yourself about your priorities.

#10

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Once, one of those college speakers at my high school told us this story when explaining letters of rec to us. One teacher wrote a letter for an extremely good student. She was kind, hardworking, got good grades, ans she also babysat for the teacher, so obviously this teacher had no shortage of good things to say about this student. However, later on, after the letter of rec had been sent in, the college got a call from the teacher, who took back everything she said in the letter and told them to not consider the student. Why? Because she caught the student stealing from her house.

dralcax , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Sergio Bicerra
Community Member
1 year ago

I read this before, thw girl was stealing from the alcohol cabinet the couple had, and from their emergency miney they had in a drawer or something like that. They had her in camera filling her water bottle with their alcohol.

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#11

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Obligatory: "not me, but someone I know" I work in another department at a college, but I've heard some great stories from our admissions counselors. My favorite is one girl who was actually admitted. Then the department's social media person followed her on twitter.

Her profile picture was smoking a blunt in front of a pile of coke. scrolling through, a very graphic picture of her fellating someone.... Yeah, that acceptance letter got pulled REAL quick.

Zoos27 , Ketut Subiyanto Report

Gossameringue
Community Member
1 year ago

If you're dumb enough to post that stuff on sm, maybe you're not ready for college?

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#12

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I once went and visited a college that my brother was interested in. All of the potential students and parents sat down in an auditorium. The admission officer must of have been having an awful day because he proceeded to go on a full blown /rant. He said "If ANY of you write a college essay about a tragic event in your life, it has to be tragic. An essay about how you moved in your sophomore year of high school to another state and no longer had friends with you, THAT IS NOT TRAGIC. If it is supposed to be a tragedy or huge overcoming then it must be a tear jerker. EVERY TIME I see an essay about overcoming a lame obstacle, it instantly hits the bin."

Needless to say, my brother did not attend.

PvtToucher , mentatdgt Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
1 year ago

Like this guy would know anything about overcoming a stuck "e" key on my Commodore 64 and my brave battle to make it back into society. How dare he minimize my suffering!

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Instead, focus on the causes that you truly care about because you can only fake your interest in something for so long before everyone’s aware of the truth. Perhaps you’re interested in helping protect the environment or advancing a social cause in your local neighborhood. Or you might be into helping shelter animals or even supporting your town’s football team as a quarterback.

Once you find your true passion, you’ll be singing an entirely different tune about your activities beyond the classroom. And no college admission officer will be able to resist your desire to change the world for the better in your unique way. But it has to be genuine.

#13

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student At one admissions presentation I went to for a good school, the admissions officer told us that one student applied to their school with over 100 letters of recommendation. He didn't have good grades but hoped he could get in if he got everyone he knew to write him a letter of recommendation. He was turned down.

MajorasDemise , Pixabay Report

denzoren
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

I mean....A+ for effort. Lol. I would have at least interviewed him...maybe he was actually a good student.

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#14

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Our application asks students to explain a challenging experience they have had, and how they have overcome it.

We denied a student because she said she had fantasies about drinking another human's blood, and that she hadn't quite overcome the temptation.

Haephestus , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Eric Law
Community Member
1 year ago

This anti-vampire discrimination has to stop!

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#15

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Copy/pasted from an email I received from a perspective student. Nothing was altered here except for his name being redacted. [EDIT: and school and star basketball player]

"I think u were at my school and u r from [School name]. I have some questions first. I took the act and got a 17 but a 23 in math, what scholrships does that get me? do you have classes with [Star BBall player] ? Hes so dope. I wanna study biochemistery and cure cancer. I really want to go to ur school. But im gonna go on my own terms.

[redacted]"

Needless to say, even at a state school with a near 90% acceptance rate, he was rejected when his application came around.

anonymous , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Al Jameson
Community Member
1 year ago

I'm actually more worried about someone apparently working in a college admissions office who doesn't seem to know the difference between perspective and prospective.

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#16

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student My mother does this - at her college, they get so many applicants ever year that it basically comes down to really simple things when rejecting potential students.

When you've got thousands of people vying for a limited number of places, eventually you've whittled down the list to a bunch of equals and you're still left with too many. At that point, it's basically up to the seemingly inconsequential and random choices of your admissions officer.

anonymous , Kelly Lacy Report

Eppe
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

Saved the most honest one for last (EDIT: it was the last one when I wrote this ;)

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#17

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student As an admissions director I repeat: if there is an essay STOP QUOTING ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND MARTIN LUTHER KING!

zetaphi938 , Pixabay Report

Bee / she/her
Community Member
1 year ago

Our college counselor keeps repeating this. Don't use quotes. Ever. They aren't yours, and tell nothing about your personality.

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#18

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I was at a program for the University that I wanted to attend, and they talked to us about CommonApp essays.

They told us the story of this one applicant that mentioned the show Dexter in his essay, and then ended his essay with something along the lines of "I would definitely become Dexter, and kill bad guys". Needless to say, he was rejected

dragid10 Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
1 year ago

My mom always told me that submitting my murder fantasies would get me accepted into any school I wanted to go to.

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#19

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Had a kid once send in his own worn and slightly smelly shoe along with a note that said, "Hope this helps get my foot in the door."

It didn't.

xtremechaos , Pixabay Report

AnnaBanana
Community Member
1 year ago

Points for ingenuity?

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#20

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student College Financial Aid Counselor here (USA) who works with our admissions staff.

Its common sense but some students don't seem to realize that if you receive federal student aid at one school, other schools can see this on a variety of national databases. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) for example.

Several years ago we had high school student with decent grades, selected for additional documents (verification) and completed the process... but... just seemed off.

Well during our awarding process we discovered that she attended prior schools and received aid. Lots. Several years worth. That right there, lying on the admissions app, is enough to get the boot. What was the real shocker - she was 26. She was not only lying about school but here age. She said she was 18 on the app.

She came in to see about her package and we directed her to her admissions adviser. She said "Ok, I'll be right back!" and I said, under my breath "oh-no-you-wont....".

Following up with admissions I asked how it went and the counselor said "Good right up until she started crying and walked out".

So.... TRANSFER STUDENTS - DO NOT LIE/LEAVE OFF INFO ON PRIOR ATTENDED SCHOOLS ON YOUR APP - WE WILL FIND OUT.

remember_mee , Anna Shvets Report

Catlady6000
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

I think the term is "career student." I remember a news report on this in the '80s. There were people who had been attending college into their 30s, for general courses.

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#21

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student A close friend of mine works admissions at a prestigious University. His latest story that he told me was of a application that he denied where they got a perfect score on the SAT, but submitted 2 essays with 5 sentences total between the two. My friend considered it a waste of his time and portrayed a lack of effort.

ratk6767 , Michael Burrows Report

Eglė Bukauskaitė
Community Member
1 year ago

All these posts make me feel that US universities put so much needless effort of useless letters. Kid was confident in his grades and/or other strengths rather that whining something on paper that, according to other posts on this thread, are direct evidence against them or, worse, mocked at.

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#22

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I know for a fact that many universities go on Facebook/Instagram and look at applicants profiles.

mymotheris , Lisa Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 year ago

Businesses do it too and what they see there decides whether you get the job or not. So perhaps you should clean up your social media account and remove those "Party hard" pictures.

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#23

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student This one kid wrote a letter about volunteering at hospital and then didn't get cookies one day and said it sucked.

OfficerTwix , Habib Dadkhah Report

Zophra
Community Member
1 year ago

Well, what type of cookies?

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#24

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student An admissions officer at W&M once told me about this student who had submitted a beautifully written essay. It was not only well written but emotional, and spelling- and error-free – overall, a fantastic essay. The admissions officer was just about ready to accept her right there when she saw that at the end of the essay, the student had written, 'And that's why I want to go to UVA.

Metlover , Sora Shimazaki Report

Flip
Community Member
1 year ago

? She tried different ones and forgot to change the name? Who cares?

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#25

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student My cousin* attended sports science. His grades where all very good. But on the physical exam, it was stated that branded clothes weren't allowed. They had to wear a white T-shirt and black shorts without a brand. He didn't know and was wearing a nike t-shirt, with the logo showing very small on his shirt. He got send away for disregarding the rules. My aunt was there and would get another t-shirt in the store immediately, but they didnt approve. So he didn't attend that universitiy

DiePewDiePie , nasro azaizia Report

Eglė Bukauskaitė
Community Member
1 year ago

That's cruel :(

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#26

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Watching medical school applicants come through my school has been very interesting. I'm not on the admissions team but have been a student interviewer. It's really interesting to see what people will do, even at that high level.

Seeing someone fall asleep during a presentation on the curriculum. Seeing someone get up during a 15 minute talk by the Dean of the school, and go to get things out of their bag. Hearing someone ask if they have to attend the whole interview day.

You would think you wouldn't see these rookie errors at such a high level.

tellme_areyoufree , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Samantha Lomb
Community Member
1 year ago

You also have no idea what these people are going through. Maybe someone has a new baby, or came in early from far away or is on medication that makes them sleepy. Maybe the person needed medication or has an anxiety problem. Maybe your directions were unclear if they didn't know they had to attend. Try not to be so judgy

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#27

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student Worked in a graduate admissions office in college. We once turned away a woman who would call the office every day, to ask us questions about the program that we were not able to disclose (average gpa/gmat of class accepted so far, job placement rate - this was a brand new program. the first class hadn't even graduated yet. - for this year, etc.)

Eventually, we rejected her because her resume wasn't as built out as some of our other applicants (I guess this is different for grad school), though we did look at her application with a slight bias...

She flipped a switch and actually came into our office to scream at us.

arctic92 , Anthony Shkraba Report

Mazer
Community Member
1 year ago

Her switch had been flipped way before she came into your office

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#28

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student I know some schools will reject people if their grades are too high, they have too many extra curriculars etc. The thought being that these students are basically perfect and will probably get into an Ivy League school; what is the point of accepting them if they aren't likely to attend?

JaggedGorgeousWinter , Jeswin Thomas Report

Neil Bidle
Community Member
1 year ago

What if they don't want to go to the other school though and just want to stay local or something? Seems unfair

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#29

College Admission Officers Are Sharing 29 Of The Worst Reasons Why They Didn't Accept A Student A variety of felonies, from armed robbery to manslaughter. On the application is a check box question: "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" What it doesn't tell you is that not only are you unlikely to be admitted if you check yes, but felony convictions are an automatic disqualification by the "review committee". But the other half of the story is, if you check the no box, it's not like we run a background check on you. So I'm confident there are quite a few convicted felons walking around our campus right now.

anonymous , Kindel Media Report

Eppe
Community Member
1 year ago

Convicted felons that did their time don't deserve second changes? Applying to college seems like an attempt to turn their life around.

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