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Posted on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:15 a.m.

High schooler who wrote op-ed about college rejection hints she may go to University of Michigan

By Kellie Woodhouse

A Pennsylvania high schooler whose cheeky op-ed in the Wall Street Journal sparked a national conversation on college admissions might be a University of Michigan Wolverine next year.

Suzy Lee Weiss appeared on the Today Show Thursday morning and, when asked where she'd be going to college in the fall, said she hadn't decided but coughed "Go Blue," a favorite U-M cheer.

On March 29 the Journal published Weiss' opinion piece entitled 'To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me.' Weiss had dreamed of going to Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, but the Pittsburgh high school senior was rejected despite a reported 4.5 GPA.

In her piece, Weiss laments what she considers the unrealistic expectations of college admissions offices.

"Colleges tell you, 'Just be yourself.' That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself!" She wrote. "If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere."

A week after it was first published, the op-ed remains the most-read article on the Journal's website.

On the Today Show Thursday, Weiss said her op-ed was satire, using jokes to illustrate the seeming absurdity of the college application process.

"Everyone my age, whether they wanted to get into Penn State their whole lives or Harvard, is agreeing with me that it's just a rat race nowadays and it's such a business model as opposed to who's most qualified should get in," she said. "It's a crapshoot and I understand that."

While she was rejected from the Ivy League colleges she dreamt of during her youth, she did get into several Big 10 schools— including U-M, which was recently rated a top 'dream school' by the Princeton Review.

"I got into great schools in the Big Ten: University of Michigan, Indiana, Penn State and Wisconsin. All of which I am ecstatic about. I couldn't be more happy," she said.

And if Weiss' "Go Blue" cheer means anything, we may be seeing her in Ann Arbor this fall.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

The college application process is a meat grinder into which we throw our children. Only a very few kids will come out un-bruised by the experience. Why have we let it get this bad?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

When I was applying to college in the early 80s, I knew that a high GPA, high standardized test scores, and participating in multiple extracurricular activities were important. The fact that this kid acts surprised by this strikes me as odd. It's not like things have changed in 30 years (except for the meteoric rise in tuition).


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

My son goes to a liberal arts college with a scholarship that makes it cheaper than any MI state school. There are 20 students per class and he has frequent contact with advisors and professors and is having a great time. But, he is embarrassed because he doesn't go to a big name school. What the heck? I am proud of him!

Mackinac Straits

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 3:51 a.m.

Every student and parent should read "40 Colleges that Change Lives", and "Beyond the Ivies". You'll soon abandon the notion that a big name school, is the best place to spend four years and $100k. The big name schools have largely abdicated their responsibility for teaching our kids, for challenging them and helping them grow by stuffing them in over-sized classes taught by GA's. These schools are mostly customer service organizations that compete on amenities and trade on prestige and their "brand". Go to a small school, with small classes and be taught by full professors for all four years.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

"The big name schools have largely abdicated their responsibility for teaching our kids, for challenging them and helping them grow by stuffing them in over-sized classes taught by GA's. " That's a myth. With few exceptions, GA's lead discussion or recitation and grade. At UM, 3% of undergrad classes are taught by a GA alone and those are primarily 100 level courses. About 75% of UG classes are taught by faculty alone and the rest are taught by faculty with an assistant. If a GA is teaching a class alone they are very well qualified to do so.

Anthony Clark

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

The poll should have an "other" option. I did not have a "dream" college. I was happy just to be able to go to college. I was felt fortunate to be accepted by Grand Rapids Community College and Eastern Michigan University.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

If you want to see her live interview go to She is so valley girl it is not funny. I watched half of that video and clicked off. Yes, she tried, but she has way too much time on her hands. As for UM? After watching this interview they would be stupid not to accept her. As for me? Started off the easy way in. Community colleges. Good luck and good night.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

So this might be a little premature...I'm not sure when ITS hands out uniqnames during the application/acceptance process...but I happened upon this.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:34 a.m.

I believe uniqnames are issued at acceptance, as they are used to accept enrollment deposits, sign up for orientation, etc. To my knowledge though, they are issued when UM accepts your application. You still have to actually enroll. Not everyone that is accepted necessarily enrolls.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

I'm a registered nurse and I never got this whole "dream" university. I also never understood the thought that if I didn't have a certain university name plastered on my bachelors degree nobody would want me. In healthcare be you a physician, nurse, physicians assistant, physical therapist, or a radiology tech no one cares where you went to school. HR personnel and hiring managers in healthcare don't care where you went to school so long as you have a license from the State which certifies you've passed boards and are eligible to work in your profession. Perhaps a physician graduating from University of Michigan versus Kansas State may be edged up on a prestige basis. However generally speaking, hospitals and clinics only care if you were good enough to pass your State boards. So it would really be less financially sound, for example, to go for your nursing degree at University of Detroit Mercy or University of Michigan, rather than Central Michigan or Eastern U. It's likely going to make zero difference in the hiring process and definitively a zero difference in pay grade. I'm certainly not an educational expert, but I would venture to guess that engineering, business, and law would perhaps be the top three "big" fields that would care where you went to school.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

There are always going to be smart individuals who can go to almost any school and excel in life. For such individuals, making the smart financial choice is often as important as making the right choice in terms of prestige. However, for a much larger portion of individuals - perhaps even the minority - there never existed the opportunity to attend a more elite school for two simple reasons: Either they simply weren't smart enough, or they did not apply themselves. In that way, colleges across the country are a "filter down" system, whereby the "best" tend to go to the "best" schools, and everybody else tries to get into the best school they can possibly get into (with financial ability closely in mind). If you go to a school that's not the best one you can get into given your life/career goals, and it isn't for financial reasons, then I honestly question your decisionmaking.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

Wanna bet? I had a friend who went to a sub par college and tried for 2 years to get a job. Got the dream job. Detroit Public Schools because no one else wanted to work there. Now he can't get out. So, yes, you have to have the dream university to get really recognized.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

Ann Arbor can always use more snark.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

You should always be yourself, because this is more important than going to the most prestigious college, not because this will get you into the most prestigious college. It's important to find the college that is the right fit for you, instead of following the trend. It's too sad that such simple things have lost their mearnings to the youngsters.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.

My experience as an on site college recruiter for Ford Motor Company. It is not the school, its the candidate. I have seen small school candidates and large school candidates do just as well as the other.

Elaine F. Owsley

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

Part of the criteria in most colleges is a "well rounded" , not just smart, student. Our daughter attended U of M. She was a good student, but she also was in band, Girl Scouts, 4-H, worked part time, put in 200 volunteer hours at the UM hospitals. Life is more than point average. Major colleges recognize that.

Silly Sally

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:46 a.m.

Remember UM's admissions score chart in the Ann Arbor News? An applicant got more points for being black with a "C" average than being white with an "A" average. Go look it up! Right on the front page. This racist policy was struck down by the US Supreme Court during their lost undergraduate case 10 years ago. What they do to discriminate for diversity.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

As for band? That may get you into UM but it won't if you are not diverse enough for them.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

Things have changed... girls scouts and 4-h are considered as "diverse as saltine crackers". Now, you "need 2 moms, a closet to come out of, a fake charity, and an African baby that changed your life". She has a point...


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

I read the Op-ed. It was pretty snarky, though entertaining. I'm personally interested in knowing a bit more about Ms. Weiss - GPA isn't everything (as she admitted). What else was there in her application?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

It is ironic she picked the U of M seeing the school has its own issues with affirmitive action admissions.

Robert E.

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

Yeah gt how unusual that she would want to go to one of the best and most progressive-minded schools in the country...hmmmmm...maybe this impressive young lady understands a thing or two that you don't...


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

thats true us white people are all bad ,that what affirmative action is saying but non of the presidents where effect by affirmitive action. .


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

If you actually read the article she wrote you'll see that it was clearly a tongue-in-cheek piece that was actually kind oh hilarious. This young woman is quite a talented writer.

Jim Osborn

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

When I was 17, there was little stress about college, or which one to attend. There was no taking classes for the SAT. The night prior to it , I was at our homecoming dance. I applied to UC San Diego, UCSD in La Jolla, California, in part because a high school friend who was our class valedictorian did. He also applied to Stanford and then attended Standford. I was accepted and graduated, after an intermission at UCLA. All part of the Univ. of California system, back when tuition was well under a $1,000 a year. It had risen a lot during the 1990s, though. I'm amazed that such an important decision was made so easily; or carelessly. Then again, the UC system ranks well, alongside UM.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

just stop rubbing it in ! (about living in the Dinosaurs Age ;) )

Jim Osborn

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

I only applied to one, UCSD, but the other UC schools were backup.

Geoff Larcom

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

This high school senior is dynamite. Next fall, she should go straight to the Michigan Daily and start writing columns. What poise, and what a sense of irony and humor.

Anthony Clark

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

a2citizen, you are probably right however wrong that is.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Her politically incorrect sarcasm will get her into trouble, though.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

Geoff, you are missed!

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

Just to follow up the poll question, any readers mind sharing what their 'dream' school was?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

The College of No Debt. Yes I got in and 30 years I still have no debt.

Silly Sally

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Did you graduate from EMU, or, were you like so many who wash out after the first year? EMU has a lot of good students surrouded by others who are not college material. And this is from a prof. who has taught at both. I hope that you grew up and made the best of your time

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

Notre Dame, but I had no shot at getting in. Still a fan, though.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

Nope. Didn't care about college and did not have the grades for it. How I ended up at EMU I will never know. I just went because the parents told me to. Sucks doesn't it?

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

Hi Carrie- We had over 2k votes on yesterday's poll so my guess is that it may be tied to your browser, sorry about that!

Carrie Rheingans

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

I couldn't vote in the poll, or another one yesterday either. I'm not sure what's wrong with either the polls themselves, or the IP address/browser I'm using. I only applied to UM and MSU, got into both, and went to UM. I'm from Michigan, and despite my parents not paying a dime for school, I was still prohibited from going out of state.

Jenn McKee

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

Mine was Princeton - even though a visit to the campus made me feel like I didn't belong there. (Not enough money, not the right clothes, etc.) Kids gets swept up in Ivy League dreams when they do well in school, often, and get the message that if they really want to be someone important in life, that's where they need to be. Princeton rejected me, of course; but Michigan accepted me, and in retrospect, it was a much better fit for me, anyway.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

Good for her! The article was hilarious and timely. The college admissions process has become a nightmare for so many kids. I hope U of M gets her!


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:18 a.m.

She will. After seeing her interview on the Today Show? Perky isn't half the word for her.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6 p.m.

Unfortunately, she is right about the rat race and game playing. But it happens on both sides of the application. As a teacher I've watch it get worse over the years. Students will join a team or start a club and quit as soon as they establish a leadership title to put on the college application. Volunteering is transparent and insincere. Purchased 2-week volunteer experiences in foreign countries are very popular. Grade grubbing is at a peak. Being authentic is at an all time low. The colleges and universities should stop encouraging this behavior.

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

As editor of the Central Michigan yearbook in the mid 50's, I ran into the same kind of thing - lists as long as your arm of clubs students "belonged" to. At the same time vets were coming back from Korea, many of them married, some with children, who didn't have time for that kind of thing. I dropped the activities listing on everyone and listed only major and hometown to even the score. Not everyone was happy, but they were equal.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

its all about elite class's my frend!


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

happier. No wonder she was rejected.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

So typical of Ann Arbor.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

Others have been rejected but didn't let it stop them from a lifetime of success. One case I happened to stumble across the other day involved a woman rejected by UM but went on to become the first woman president of Wellesley College at 26 years of age, and she was a dean at the University of Chicago as well. UM President Angell played a roll, however. He met with her and overrode the admissions committee based on his opinion. He allowed her to enroll with conditions. The woman was Alice Freeman Palmer, at whom I happened to glance when a book listing in Gutenberg caught my attention: Heroines in Service. She was one of the women profiled in the book.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

Oh no.

An Arborigine

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

No PR value for UM there, nope.