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Hopkins admissions error rattles college applicants


For thousands of seniors across the nation, December has the potential to bear one of the best days of the year. And no, it’s not Christmas. This day falls about two weeks before, when a long awaited message arrives by email, online or even post: early college decisions.

An Early Decision acceptance can bring one of the happiest holidays of all, but for many, the decision might not be so merry.

But that’s inevitable, right? Some get good news, some bad, and no matter what you just have to roll with the punches. After all, it’s just one decision.

Unless, of course, it’s two.

On December 14, Johns Hopkins University accidently released congratulatory emails to hundreds of students who had been rejected just a few days before, according the Washington Post. The release caused widespread confusion and resurfaced disappointment among rejected applicants.

But Hopkins was not the first to make a mistake like this. The Washington Post article discussed similar errors that have occurred at Fordham University, Vassar College, and MIT.

Hopkins apologized profusely to recipients of the mistake, but many expressed that one apology wasn’t enough.

Applying to college, especially early decision, is an incredibly stressful, nerve-wrecking and risky process peppered with many late, coffee-fueled nights, tearful breakdowns and fluctuating emotions. To me, the idea that a university can make and get away with such a massive mishap is something from my nightmares.

But more than that, it’s completely paradoxical to the standards of perfection to which a university holds prospective students.

Hopkins disclaimed the incident  “human error.” This would be understandable enough, were the college process not profoundly un-human.

Think about it. How many horror stories have you heard about a student leaving the wrong college’s name in an essay, sending the wrong recommendation to a school or hitting the final click on the common app before realizing they left a glaring spelling error in its midst. The thought alone is enough to send any senior scrambling to view their last essay revision.

The thing is, those all sound like pretty human errors to me. And yet they’re met with no mercy, no do-overs. An apology certainly won’t cut it. You just should’ve been less careless, and stress is definitely no excuse. I mean, you’re about to go to college, you’re practically an adult, and adults would never make such mistakes.

Unless of course they’re an admissions officer.

If admissions offices could do one thing to ease the pain of applying to college, they could stop advocating the false persona of unachievable perfection that rests in a bubble over the college process.

Yes, college admission systems make mistakes. But so do students. And finally equalizing that distinction could perhaps alleviate the impact of the inevitable errors we both will make.


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Ale Benjamin
Ale Benjamin, Managing Editor
Ale Benjamin ’15 started out like everyone else in the Introduction to Journalism class her sophomore year. However, the class wasn’t just a way to earn course credit; it turned into a passion that she practices like a passionate, seasoned athlete would practice her sport. “Anyone can write, but journalism is more than that. It’s about communicating,” said Benjamin.  Along with communicating people’s stories, Benjamin has developed a broader perspective on the world by taking journalism. In order to better her skills, Benjamin went to an investigative reporting program at Boston University this summer. Benjamin participates in many activities that all tie together, allowing her to become accomplished in everything she does. Along with being one of the managing editors for Inklings, she is also one of the program directors for WWPT, as it combines her interests of journalism and music. Despite her many academic pursuits, Benjamin isn’t all work and no play. She enjoys relaxing, physically active hobbies such as Yoga and Pure Barre. She has also been an active member of the Staples girls’ swim team all four years of high school.. Benjamin loves to travel, which adds a global perspective to her writing. She has visited many incredible places including Thailand, South Africa, and Australia. However, she doesn’t travel just for pure pleasure. Benjamin takes her helping hands on the Builders Beyond Borders service trip every February since her sophomore year. She has visited communities in the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and plans to go again to Guatemala this coming year. Her participation in Inklings and her many other diverse activities allows Benjamin to tackle each challenge she faces with the determination of a reporter ready to crack a case.

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