All Things Must Pass

I read an article in this Sunday’s NY Times about a glitch at Vassar’s admissions website. Here’s the LINK if you’d like to read it yourself. Apparently, acceptance notices were posted online. Students could visit the website to find out if they had been admitted.

Back in my day they sent you a letter. You didn’t even have to open it. A thick letter was good. It was stuffed with forms you needed to fill out and things you needed to know to get ready for your freshman year. A thin letter was not-so-good. It thanked you for applying and wished you luck somewhere else. I got a couple of those.

It was rather like an editor’s rejection letter. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was definitely good practice for a writing career!

Here’s what went wrong at Vassar. The Admissions Department posted a form acceptance letter to see if the system worked properly. The form letter was not removed in time. Students visited their online admissions file, read the form letter, and discovered they were in. Except they weren’t. The real letters were posted an hour later, just in time to turn tears of joy to tears of sorrow.

As Bill Clinton would say, “I feel your pain.” On the other hand, if you’re bright enough to  apply to Vassar, you’re sure to get into another school and do just as well. Maybe even better. Steve Jobs never finished college. Neither did Bill Gates. Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln never even went.

So shed the tears. Cry, yell, throw things against the wall. Write angry letters to the Admissions Department. Demand your application fee back. But at the back of your mind, remember this. It’s a motto that Trina Hyman gave me several years ago.

“In a year from now, you’ll laugh at this.”

Trust me. You will.

I did.

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