Monthly Archives: March 2010

Rejection: A Letter

Way back in September I decided to take a leap and follow my heart and apply for Grad School. I applied to one school: The University of Toronto. I realise, eggs, baskets, etc… But there was no other school or city in Canada I wanted to be in. My education is most certainly a priority for me, but so is my location. More so even. I would love to study in many foreign cities, but alas, I cannot afford to foot the bill for such things. So University of Toronto it was. Their Philosophy department is stellar. Its ratings are the best in Canada, and in the top 25 world wide.

I put together my application (a Herculean feat in itself), which as far as I could tell was due in January 7th, 2010. Just before the deadline I paid the $110 application fee, and was notified by the website that I had until February 15, 2010 to get all my supporting documents in. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and afforded myself more time to refine my application letter and writing sample.

All was well.

That is, until I was on a date on the night of January 15th at a café in Kensignton Market. I was telling my date all about applying for school, and my hope for the future. Luckily a friend of a friend was sitting at the next table eavesdropping while marking some students’ philosophy papers. He kindly informed me that the department had messed up the online application deadline. It was January 15, not February 15. I ran home, emailed the department secretary explaining the situation and begged to be allowed to hand everything in in person Monday morning. Luckily I keep browser windows open forever, so I even had a screen shot proving that the website said February 15.  Monday morning I was given the OK, and toddled off to the department and handed everything in.

I was mostly relieved that I was able to get my application and documents in, without being rejected out right. But upon further reflection I began to question the actions of the Philosophy department. Why hadn’t they notified all the applicants of the error? They had all our email addresses. Surely that would be the professional thing to do.

Months go by, and I waited with bated breath for the decision on my application. I was told 10 out of usually 100 applicants get in. I was worried about my marks for two reasons, they weren’t as high as I would have hoped, but they also were British, which had previously confused U of T when I was applying for Undergrad. Either way the odds were hard to beat, so I wasn’t getting my hopes too high.

Today I received the most charming of emails. A rejection email from the University of Toronto’s Philosophy department. I am so enraged on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin.

A rejection email? From a prestigious institute? One of Canada’s, nay the world’s, finest educational hotbeds? An EMAIL? Are you fucking kidding me? Whatever happened to the classic and simple rejection letter? That too thin envelope with the embossed crest of the University declaring that sadly you will not be admitted in September. Sure the news sucks just as much, but there’s something to be said about a letter, with a signature at the bottom. A real signature. Ink on paper.

Wait, there’s more. Not only did I receive this email, but according to the email so did all the other rejected candidates. Yes 310 or so other rejects were not only emailed about this rather disappointing news, but we were all cc’ed on that SAME email. Not bcc’ed as the sender surely intended. So now all of us rejectees have each other’s emails. Fantastic!

And then to top it off, four hours and two outraged “reply alls” from rejected applicants later the department finally becomes savvy to their offensive mistake, and sends out another email requesting that we delete the original email, to honour the privacy of all the other applicants. Don’t worry though, they’ll send a SECOND rejection email that has everyone bcc’ed instead of cc’ed.

Charming. Truly charming.

The news while disappointing does not upset me nearly half as much as the method of its delivery.

Here’s a little note from me to you: Just because the technology exists, and it presumably makes life easier, doesn’t mean it should be used.

There’s something to be said about traditional decorum.



Filed under Musings