The Challenge of Writing Rejection Emails to Exceptional Students

Today, I want to share with you perhaps the most challenging job I have at Lamp of Learning: Writing rejection emails. Lamp of Learning provides mentoring and scholarships to high-achieving, low-income students. https://www.lampoflearning.org

As part of our scholarship program, we have the honor of interviewing many exceptional students, each of who possess remarkable academic achievements, exemplary leadership skills, and a burning desire to be the first in their families to pursue higher education. They are all shining stars with limitless potential.

However, the sad reality is that our resources only permit us to offer scholarships to a limited number of students. It breaks my heart to have to write rejection emails to 19 of these extraordinary individuals who deserve recognition and support for their hard work. It is a humbling reminder of the inherent limitations we face when trying to make a positive impact in the lives of deserving students.

Throughout the interview process, I was deeply moved by the unwavering determination and resilience of each student. Their passion for learning and their commitment to excellence were truly inspiring. Witnessing their potential firsthand, I have no doubt that each and every one of them will go on to achieve great things and make a lasting impact in their chosen fields.

Writing these rejection emails has proven to be an incredibly difficult task. It is a bittersweet reminder of the inherent disparities in our education system and the need for continued efforts to provide equal opportunities for all students, regardless of their background or circumstances. We must strive to create a world where financial limitations do not hinder deserving individuals from pursuing their dreams.

To the 19 students who will be receiving these emails, I want you to know that your achievements and aspirations have left an indelible mark on us. Please remember that this decision is not a reflection of your abilities or potential—it is a reflection of our current limitations. I encourage you to keep pursuing your dreams relentlessly, and I am confident that you will achieve the success you deserve.

To those who have been awarded the scholarships, congratulations on this well-deserved honor. Use this opportunity to fuel your drive for success and remember the incredible students who stood beside you throughout this journey. Cherish the privilege you have been given and pay it forward whenever you can.


Paul Bergman runs a business strategy and cybersecurity consulting company in San Diego. He writes on cybersecurity and board management for both corporate and nonprofit boards.

Verified by MonsterInsights