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Student behind faux Harvard rejection letter gets real one

In the end, the real Harvard rejection letter wasn’t anything like the one Molly McGaan had imagined.

The prestigious school didn’t mention “dank memes” or McGaan’s abundance of “$wagg moneyyyy.”

And certainly, Harvard never brought up that “fire mixtape” she supposedly sent them.

McGaan, who attends the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, rose to Internet fame —albeit briefly — in early March, when she created a fake Harvard rejection letter that quickly went viral, tricking some of those who came across it into believing it was authentic.

Cluttered with pop culture references, the letter was stamped at the bottom with a faux signature from the school’s dean of admissions, William R. Fitzsimmons.


The letter was a way for the college hopeful, who had actually applied to Harvard, to deal with the stresses that come with the college application process. It was posted on the Facebook page for her school’s satirical magazine, Citizen Poke.

A copy of the real rejection letter from Harvard.

Alas, on March 31, like tens of thousands of other Harvard hopefuls, she got the real letter.

It was brief, straight to the point, and far less creative than the one she had concocted in jest.

She didn’t make the cut.

The correspondence merely said that administrators were sorry they couldn’t offer her a spot at the world-renowned Cambridge school — but McGaan was a good sport about it.

“With a school as competitive as Harvard, it’s a lottery even if you’re a superstar. I think Harvard gets a lot of applicants who are more than qualified to become Harvard students,” she said in a Facebook message.

Harvard saw a record year for applications to the class of 2019, and only accepted 1,990 of the 37,307 students who applied.

It all worked out for McGaan, however. She got a good laugh, experienced what it was like to be the darling of the Internet for 48 hours, and got into the University of Michigan instead.


“I’m almost glad I didn’t get in, because I wouldn’t have gone anyway,” she said.

A copy of the fake letter created by Molly McGaan.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.