A single mom of four from Northboro, Massachusetts, got the news she had dreamed of since she was a child: an acceptance letter to law school at Northeastern University. But a glitch caused that dream to come crashing down.
Northeastern explained in a statement that a technical error caused acceptance letters to be issued to more than 200 current applicants, and to almost 4,000 people who applied a year ago.
"It was like going on a roller coaster, that's exactly how it felt," said Lakisha Papoutsakis, describing the 24 hours after she was contacted by Northeastern University. "Last night, I get this email, and I'm like, all excited. 'Oh my god, I got in!'"
The email announced her acceptance into the same law school that had twice rejected her in the last two years.
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"This has been a dream since I was a little girl," she said.
Often surrounded by attorneys growing up, Papoutsakis said she's always had an interest in law. But then, she said, "life kept happening."
It wasn't until after her divorce and being homeless with her children that she decided to give her dream another shot.
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"For me, it was important to be able to do that," she said. "One, to show them that anything is possible. Two, that you're never too old to accomplish a dream. And three, that I could provide for them."
Then, after six hours of sharing the excitement with loved ones, she noticed a follow-up email from Northeastern.
"I was like 'Oh my god this is so amazing,' and then it was like 'Oh no, sorry, April Fool's Day,'" she said.
"Due to a technical error, 205 current applicants to the school of law received an erroneous email," Northeastern University said in a statement. "The school of law deeply regrets this unintended mistake and is taking steps to ensure that it will not happen in the future."
"How do you make such a big mistake and then you do nothing to try to rectify it?" asked Papoutsakis. "You don't do anything except for 'Oh, sorry.'"
Disheartened and defeated, Papoutsakis wants Northeastern to reconsider.
"I'm a woman of color who wound up in a shelter, who lost almost everything, and still has her four kids, but aspires to be more," she said.
Papoutsakis said she is looking into legal avenues, even writing a letter to Northeastern, with hopes of turning that rejection into a real admission.