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'AITA for not telling my dad I got rejected by college on the day the result came out?' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for not telling my dad I got rejected by college on the day the result came out?' UPDATED 2X


Trying to please an intense parent can be deeply stressful.

In a series of posts, one guy asked if he was wrong for not telling his dad he got rejected by a college because he was afraid to break the news. He wrote:

"AITA for not telling my dad I got rejected by college on the day the result came out?"

My mom passed away when I was a very young kid, so it's been just me and my dad ever since. We're not originally from the States; my dad came here to do his PhD, and I was born right after he finished. So, it is really only me and dad. We don't have family here. I don't have any memories of my mom, and my dad has been busting his butt for me ever since.

My dad's like super brainy and he kinda expected me to be just as brainy as him. At school, I skipped third grade, and they wanted me to skip fourth too, but my dad wasn't down for the double skip. They stuck me in the gifted program. You can imagine, my dad had these crazy high hopes for me. But I'm just a regular kid who hit some milestones early.

I'm graduating high school this year and applying to colleges. My stats are decent and I've been grinding, but not as stellar as my dad would've hoped. I've tried talking to him multiple times about not being Ivy League material or other top school, but he's not having it, especially since he went to the top school for his PhD. Anyway, two results from my applications are out, and I didn't get into either.

My dad's beyond disappointed. There are still six more colleges I've applied to. Now, he's like listing off the names of my friends and his friends' kids, checking where they're studying or planning to study, and he keeps comparing me to them. He's said so many times he can't wrap his head around why I, with all this supposed potential, haven't gotten into anywhere yet, like I must be lazy or something.

I'm crushed about letting my dad down. He's the person I love the most in the world, and I feel like our relationship will never be the same again.

The internet had OP's back.

2percentluminicgen wrote:

Your dad has his own issues that have nothing to do with IQ. He lacks parenting skills, and that requires emotional intelligence, my dear. It's not your fault that he doesn't have the ability to view you as a precious human being. I truly believe that children have more unconditional love than parents because they are full of expectations while we take what they give us.

Besides, there are so many factors such as confidence, types of intelligence, talents and skills, etc. Following the parents' steps out of loyalty is wrong, very wrong. It generates guilt and shame.

quantomflex wrote:

Your dad’s book smart but lacks wisdom. Too bad, but follow your own path with your head held high and feel good about it.

There are plenty of amazing schools with amazing programs that will be the right fit for you.

Twelve days later, OP shared another update.

I (16M) am a senior in HS and applying to colleges. I applied to 8 colleges and got 3 rejections, 2 of which I thought I'd get in. The other 5 are much harder, and I already know it's pretty much certain I'll be rejected from 2 of them. My dad (my mom passed away, so he raised me) is really disappointed with my results.

He's so disappointed that he went to school to talk to my counselor and called me lazy in front of him. And my friends are getting into good colleges, which makes my dad even more mad at me. I thought my stats were enough to get into college: ranked 3rd in class, 1580 SAT, took 4 AP Exams and got 5s on all, captain of the sports team I play for, founded a volunteer project that raised $30k, and other stuff.

Since I know my dad is really mad at me, this week the result of another college I thought I'd get into came out, and I got rejected. I didn't tell my dad right away because I didn't have the courage; I didn't want to see him even sadder with me. I waited for the best time to tell him, but when I did, he didn't find out from someone else!!! He wasn't too happy that I took so long to tell him.

Also, this week, my best friend since I was 8 got a likely letter from Harvard, meaning he'll probably get in. We're both only children; he's like a brother to me, and I can't imagine my life without our friendship. I was so happy, and we were supposed to spend today together to celebrate. But my dad banned me from leaving the house and using the car.

He said it's because of my behavior of not trusting him by not immediately telling him about the application result and for me to reflect on what I did throughout all the years in school and getting these results. So, on the happiest day of my best friend's life, who grew up with me, who's like a brother, whose parents always took care of me as if I were their son, my dad is prohibiting me from being with him.

Was I such an AH for not telling him immediately? I think my dad overreacted.

Edit: Dad is high-achiever, he has a PhD from a top school and is very smart. My mom died was 3yo, so my dad raised me alone.

The internet had OP's back.

tofuborne wrote:

NTA/ You're not an application machine; you're a human with impressive stats who hit a bump on the college road. Not blasting bad news the second it arrives doesn't make you the bad guy, especially when dealing with rejection isn't as easy as pie. Dad's reaction? Overkill. Grounding you for not being a speed-post messenger and missing out on BFF's big day?

That's not a lesson; that's a punishment looking for a crime. Time for Dad to switch from "Disappointment Express" to "Support Central." Remember, even superheroes need a moment to regroup after a setback.

OP responded:

What pisses me off the most is not being able to hang out with my best friend. He said he was gonna bring his folks over to talk to my dad, but I think that's just gonna make things worse. My dad's doing it on purpose 'cause he knows nothing would piss me off more than missing out on this day with my friend.

KittyLady231 wrote:

Your dad sounds very controlling and honestly, there are signs of emotional ab*se. Berating you in front of someone else is horrible enough, I can’t imagine the vitriol he spews behind closed doors, and the effect it can have on a person can be devastating, esp. bc emotional abuse is something kids often gaslight themselves into brushing aside.

You were frightened of your father’s reaction because HE MADE YOU frightened. He created the circumstances where you were afraid of his reaction, and him grounding you for ‘dishonesty’ is just another way he’s trying to control and, yes, ab*se you. I’m so sorry. You should absolutely celebrate your best friend on another day.

I might look into free therapy offered by the college you end up going to (you will get into one!! My fingers are crossed for you) and I’d see about gaining independence from your controlling father ASAP. No one has the right to berate someone else ESPECIALLY not a parent to a child.

OP responded:

I know my dad is pretty strict. I guess it's because he had to raise me all by himself, so he was afraid that without a mom, I'd "lose my way." I always had to follow all the rules correctly, or it was a guaranteed punishment.

At least my mom's friend convinced dad to let me hang out today.

thirdtryisthecharm wrote:

"I thought my stats were enough to get into college: ranked 3rd in class, 1580 SAT, took 4 AP Exams and got 5s on all, captain of the sports team I play for, founded a volunteer project that raised $30k, and other stuff."

Those stats ARE enough to get into college. Also you're 16, so you're accelerated at least one grade. What else is going on here? Did you ONLY apply to reach schools (Ivy League and other HIGHLY prestigious programs? No safety options?).

Do you have a major disciplinary or legal issue you had to disclose? Did you submit incomplete or late applications? Are your essays potentially an issue? Are your letters of recommendation likely to cite personal or academic issues?

YomiKuzuki wrote:

"I know my dad is pretty strict. I guess it's because he had to raise me all by himself, so he was afraid that without a mom, I'd "lose my way." I always had to follow all the rules correctly, or it was a guaranteed punishment."

Let me guess; he had a bunch of rules that he never told you, but said they were implied rules when he punished you for breaking them? And then he would tell you "I'm only harsh with you because I love you, and want the best for you?'"

I'm also assuming that he's gone on rants at you about not being accepted to colleges? If I were you OP, I'd contemplate going LC with your dad once you start college if you don't need his financial help.

OP responded:

I'm back home now. Dad only let me go for a short while, but it's okay. Regarding my dad's rules, he used to make a list of things I had to do to help around the house and a list of things I couldn't do. When I was 10-11, he was really strict. He even used to hit me, which is common in his country.

One night my friend was here for a sleepover, I think we were about 12 or 13 years old, and we went to the living room late at night and turned on the TV. After a while, my dad showed up there, he got really mad at us and took me to his room and gave me a beating.

My friend heard it and got really scared with the sounds. He told his mom who came and talked to my dad. After that day, he never laid a finger on me again, but I still get grounded and I still do to this day if I fail to do anything around the house. But it's been a while since I've been grounded, now I can't use any of his cars.

Obv_Probv wrote:

Dude this is not love that is not what love looks like. I would strongly urge you to get into therapy as soon as you are able to and maybe start rolling the idea around of cutting your dad out of your life once you are done with college. He's not a good person. I know that's hard to accept, but it's true.

Good people do not hit their children for no reason no matter how they were raised. Think about it you were raised like that are you going to hit your children? You don't sound like the person who would.

OP responded:

He's a good person who makes mistakes. He was just replicating what he learned from his own parents; seems like it's normal in his country. He once told me he used to get spanked when he was a kid. My cousins also told me that their parents are very stricter and beat them up. After he talked to my friend's mom, I think he realized it was wrong and stopped. He never apologized, of course.

Five days later, OP jumped on with another update.

First of all, I wanted to thank you all for the support I received from you! You guys were really cool and made me feel calmer at a time when I was very sad! Yesterday, my dad came into my room and for the first time in my life, he apologized to me. He said he loves me very much regardless of any outcome and that his behavior in recent times has not been right.

He hugged me and said that I was the most important thing in the world to him. I think my dad did this also because today the MIT results were coming out, which is one of the colleges I applied to as a reach. AND I GOT IN, DAMN IT!!!! I GOT INTO MIT!!!!

I GOT INTO MIT!!!! I opened the result and it was just me and my dad here in front of the laptop. It was the most exciting feeling of my life!!!! We hugged and cried. I'm going to study at MIT!!!

The update inspired more comments and questions.

InappropriateAccess wrote:

Woo!!! Congrats!!! And good for your dad; it can be hard for a parent to apologize to their kid and it’s wonderful that he was able to. Enjoy MIT!

Ok-Ebb4485 wrote:

Jumping on this! OP congrats on MIT! I remember walking around the campus many years ago when I was going through the application process, and it seemed like a great place.

My advice? When you get to MIT, concentrate on your classes the first several weeks or even the entire first semester. Even if people are telling you to get involved early, don’t. The rigors of college classes are a huge adjustment from high school, and especially for a really good technical school like MIT (I went to one myself).

Show up to every class (unless you’re ill or have some other legitimate excuse, then provide proof to your professor). I always found it best to learn by showing up to class. Sometimes professors are better at explaining things than textbooks or YouTube videos.

I cannot stress this one enough. Attend office hours regularly, especially for the classes that give you the most trouble. Your professors will give you the times and places where you can walk in to their office and ask questions about the material. Take advantage of that so you can learn the material even better!

Plus your professors will see the effort you’re putting in and might even give you an additional curve at the end of the semester. And, most importantly, relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t let up on your current studies and activities. Instead, be relieved that you have the next four years figured out.

Enjoy making memories with your current friends, and swap phone numbers with everyone so you can all keep in touch. Congrats again, OP. You should be proud of yourself. From this (feeling ancient 😂) Redditor to you, best of luck going forward. Please feel free to drop me a DM if you have any questions. I’m more than happy to help 😊

Maleficent-Ear3571 wrote:

Congratulations 🎊!!! Sweetie, it's great that you got into MIT. I'm so proud of you. I am glad that your Dad apologized. But you need to understand that whether you go to MIT or you go to community College, you are a great person. Now, go kick MIT butt!

Few_System7531 wrote:

This is SO awesome to read, OP!!!!! I'm a mom of a 15 year old and my dad was a lot like yours in your original post when I was growing up. I'm not YOUR parent but I'm A Parent and I'm so proud of you too! WOOOOOO MIT!

Sounds like it all worked out for OP.

Sources: Reddit
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