Chicago Tribune

Rejected by your dream college? Spoiler: There are other paths to success and happiness.

Kelley Kitley grew up in Chicago yearning for a life on the stage, and spent years honing her talent through voice lessons, private coaching and loads of school and community productions.

So when the time came for her to apply to college, one school topped the list: New York University, a few subway stops from the grand theaters of Broadway. There, she figured, she would study with some of the country's great teachers before starting her career on the boards.

But that's not how things worked out. The school didn't just reject her - it didn't even allow her to audition.

"I was devastated," Kitley recently recalled. "It changed my whole trajectory in life."

College admittance season, the time of year when high

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