Wednesday night. You’re sitting at home on your computer with the TV tuned to ‘Modern Family’ in the background, updating your Facebook status, texting friends. You open your email, and BAM: you find out you’ve been accepted to your number one school.
You jump up off your bed, dance around the room, and call everyone you know. Your dad offers to take you out to dinner, your brother actually says something nice to you for a change, and your mom tells every single person she meets on her ride home on the Metro. Not even kidding. EVERY PERSON.
An hour later, you go back to your computer, checking the letter over and over again to make sure that this is really happening, when another email from the school pops up.
It reads, “Earlier today you may have received an e-mail from the Office of Admissions with the subject line ‘Welcome to (insert college name here)!’ This e-mail was sent out in error. We would like to express our most sincere apologies for any confusion this may have caused.”
Gee, confusion? Who wouldn’t be confused?
I went from being accepted to being an error made by the computer of one of the best colleges in the state.
I’d already called my mom and dad. I’d told my best friend that I would be going to college only half an hour away from her and that we could visit all that time. I’d changed my Facebook status. I had all but sent in my deposit to attend the university in the fall.
And all of this changed with one email.
It continued, “We understand that for some students this is a highly emotional time and we would like to express our regret for any additional anxiety this may have caused.”
I’m captain of the school’s dance team, spend every Friday night teaching dance classes for four hours, take IB classes, and on top of all that I’m applying to college with the rest of my classmates. I have enough anxiety thank you very much.
The honor code at this university binds the student to commit to “creating an environment of respect and mutual trust.” Well, college, you have totally earned my respect by lying and misleading me into thinking you wanted me at your school. I trust that I’m wary of attending such a place of learning. And if you live up to your threat that violation of the Honor Code will “result in severe penalties, including dismissal from the University,” you technically wouldn’t even have a job there anymore…just saying.
I don’t mean to sound snobby or childish, but for such an honorable school to do something like this to students across the nation is cruel and almost unforgivable. My grade includes some of the most intense, brainy, and wonderfully hard working people I know, and many of them applied to this school. None of them deserve to go through something like this, and if it happens with one school it is more than possible that it could happen with another.
Granted, I am not the perfect student. I’m not a sports champion, or a National Merit Scholar, or even a Principal’s Scholar. But I am a student, and this is no way to treat a student.
Apart from my confusion and dismay, I realized that there’s a bigger problem here: the world is beginning to rely on computers for everything.
My parents still don’t understand why I’m getting acceptance letters by email when they had to wait around by the mailbox when they were my age. They think it’s strange, but then again, we are the generation of iPhones and new advances in technology are made every day.
In some ways, it’s more efficient for colleges to send their letters and information by email, and they’re saving trees too. But on the other hand, a glitch in the system could easily create a mess like this.
So Office of Admissions, here are some essay questions for you: Is it fair to raise the hopes of the applicants who picked your school over hundreds of others? If you were in our shoes, how would you react? And furthermore, how are you planning on preventing future problems such as this one?
If you had to ask me what I learned today, I’d say it was that computers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and we can’t always rely on them. Regular old postal service is the way to go. Surely if an “error” can figure that out, the third best academically rated school in Virginia can too.
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