Second Time’s A Charm

Juan Guevara did not let his first admission rejection letter keep him from reapplying at NYU Abu Dhabi.

As an active Mathematics Olympiad contestant throughout high school, Juan Guevara was regularly involved in international competitions. Part of the appeal was to compete at the highest levels, but the other draw was his enjoyment of interacting with participants from around the world. Guevara wanted his university experience to be an extension of that and NYU Abu Dhabi provided him the multicultural environment he was looking for in an academic setting. 

Guevara reached out to Danny Parra from the NYUAD admissions team to learn more about NYUAD. After some thoughtful consideration, the Venezuelan decided to take the year off to prepare for his admissions application. “My parents and I decided that the best option (for me) was to take a gap year to make the application as strong as possible,” Guevara explained. 

Determined to make every second count, Guevara began spending time brushing up on his English, studying for the SAT, and preparing his essays. “My parents reviewed my essays until the last comma was perfectly placed, while Danny Parra and I checked and double checked every section of the common application,” Guevara said.  

The Rejection

After investing so much time during his gap year to prepare for the application, Guevara was overcome by emotions when he received news saying he was not admitted. But he was not quite ready to give up on his top choice

His reaction was somehow inspired by the mathematician Blaise Pascal who theorized the concept called “expected value.” The concept states that when you subtract all the possible potential losses to the few potential gains, if the expected value is a positive number, then it is mathematically reasonable to take the chance. 

So Guevara took the chance and another year off to apply to his dream school. 

Second time round, Guevara did not send in his application thinking how he would stand against other applicants. He sent it with the intention of showing the admissions team the best version of himself. “For many years, I underestimated how important my attitude is towards challenges, thinking that effort is the only attribute that pays off,” Guevara said. 

Having a positive mindset was key. Instead of emphasizing on the disappointing experience of rejection, Guevara focused on what he had learned from it and moved on.