Boiling Point: Access denied
Call them back. Re-dial their phone numbers and, while holding the shaking phone to your burning ear, whisper the crushing news to your loved ones in a quavering voice. Delete your ecstatic Facebook status, send new texts to your 50 closest friends and, hurry, save your aunt the $35 she almost spent on a college sweatshirt– there has been a mistake.
You have not been accepted to our college. We will reimburse you the $65 application fees.
We sincerely apologize.
On Friday, Jan. 27, Vassar College Early Decision II notifications were revealed to 254 applicants across the country and the world at 4:00 p.m., Eastern time. Early Decision Plan candidates bind themselves to attendance, if admitted.
A couple hours after decisions were posted, after 122 applicants had already logged in to the notification website and received their acceptance, Vassar sent a second, correctional email that “cited a system error and apologized for the mistake,” according to a New York Times article published Jan. 28.
The correct notifications were then made available and students re-entered their password, forced to endure the sweaty palms and skipping heart syndrome for a second time that evening.
Seventy-six students discovered a retracted admission to the school at which they had already begun to picture themselves living, learning and thriving. The few, sweet hours of joy were snatched away in seconds.
Vassar, a liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, NY, prides itself on a highly-selective admissions process. Students are generally in the top 10% of their high school class, according to collegeprowler.com. Although not all are accepted, early decision applicants are likely an impressive group.
Online discussion boards, such as the popular student-help website “College Confidential,” are overwhelmed with comments relating to the Vassar mishap. The arguments center on the handling of the event; does a $65 refund sufficiently make up for the agony of the seventy-six applicants?
It may be easy for adults to dismiss the error, claiming that these applicants surely had other viable options and that “adversity is a part of life, and I am sure it will be a slight blip in your college acceptance path.”
I am not so sure.
Any student who is currently or has recently endured the college admissions process can testify to the severe emotional drainage associated with clicking the “View Decisions” button, not to mention the rush of sensations after the reveal. Those 76 students deserve more than an apology and a refund.
To the expense of the Vassar administration, they deserve to be given the chance to honor the binding decision they initially received and to enter the Vassar Class of 2016.
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