'Gifted' Student With 4.0 GPA Calls Herself A 'Failure' After Being Rejected From All California Universities

Rejection doesn't always equal failure, as one high school senior learned.

TikToker, college rejection TikTok

A high school senior with a 4.0 GPA declared herself a failure after being rejected from the California universities she applied to, regardless of her academic talents. 

Sarah was a ‘gifted’ student with a 4.0 GPA who participated in multiple extracurricular activities. She was a Girl Scout, and a dance teacher, completed “tons of community service,” and played two school sports while also belonging to a private dance team.


Yet Sarah got rejected from every California university she applied to, despite her perfect GPA.

Sarah filmed herself looking dejected as she flipped off the camera, then addressed the colleges themselves. She titled her TikTok, “POV: You’re what I’ve worked towards my entire life.”

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The video moved from shot to shot of Sarah’s computer, her college rejection letters displayed on the screen. While Sarah was waitlisted at Cal State Fullerton, she was rejected from UC Riverside, UC San Diego, Cal State Long Beach, UC Irvine. The camera then cuts to Sarah with her head buried in her arms. “Failure,” reads the caption.


“My heart is completely broken,” Sarah wrote in the caption. “14 years of school to be rejected from every college. ‘Gifted student’ doesn’t mean s–t.”

The people in the comments were quick to offer their support, letting Sarah know that college acceptances don’t necessarily equal success, just as her rejections don’t make her a failure.

College admissions are more competitive now than they’ve been in the past, making it hard for even the most talented and committed students to stand out. In 2022, college admission rates dropped as low as 3.19%. Harvard University, a notoriously competitive institution, only admitted 1,942 students for the class of 2027, with an overall acceptance rate of 3.4%.

As much as Sarah’s college rejection letters got her down, people in the comments offered supportive words to try and lift her spirits. Many commenters suggested that she attend community college, as the schools offer a solid education for less tuition, with the added opportunity of being able to transfer to a four-year university. 


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“This doesn’t define you,” said one person.

“Your determination already says enough,” said someone else. “A school doesn’t equal your intelligence, your drive, or your success.”

“Success is not achieved by winning all the time,” noted another follower. “Real success comes when we rise after we fall.”

“Rejection is just redirection,” commented someone else. Sarah responded to that particular statement, saying, “Your comment kind of changed my life when I saw it. I even made it my senior quote.”


It would appear that Sarah’s story had a happy ending and she did finally make it to college. She made another TikTok in August 2022, claiming that “college is the best.”

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“I literally love college so much,” she posted. “Sleep in and go to class at 10? Sick. I can take whatever class I want? Amazing. I can just leave class whenever? I’m in.”


Sarah appeared happy and grateful to be in school, participating in the rites of passage that make the college experience unique.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.