Alleged Dark Knight Rises shooter applied but was denied UAB admission in 2011

By on September 11, 2012

By Eric Roberts

James Holmes, the alleged Dark Knight Rises shooter, applied to the University of Alabama Birmingham in 2010 and was denied admission according to documents released by the University Thursday Morning. (DOWNLOAD ADMISSION DOCUMENTS)

Redacted copy of the letter notifying James Holmes of his admission denial from UAB

Holmes applied in October 2010 to UAB’s graduate program, and later traveled to Birmingham for interviews in February 2011.

UAB in a letter dated March 31, 2011, notified Holmes that “many well qualified students applied which forced the admissions committee to make difficult decisions…we regret to inform you that you have not been recommended for admission.”

Though, Holmes came to UAB highly recommended by the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

The recommendation states, “He (James) is a top notch student and he has a strong drive towards neuroscience. This performance…speaks to his intellectual capability and to his motivation. James will do well in his future professional training because of his intelligence, motivation and passion towards science. Thus, I am pleased to recommend him to you.”

Included in the release with his rejection letter and recommendation letters, was his graduate application essay.

James Holmes

Holmes stated in the opening of his essay that, “Rational people act based on incentives for self-fulfillment… I desire to attend graduate study at the University of Alabama, a leader and innovator in scientific research, because the university will provide opportunities to peruse my foremost passions, the science of learning, cognition and memory.

He added, “Making new discoveries in neuroscience is intrinsically rewarding in its own right. I have an unquenchable curiosity, a strong desire to know and explore the unknown, and a need to persist against the odds.”

The alleged shooter concluded with, “My life-long goal is to increase the efficiency of how human beings learn and remember.”

Holmes reviewers at UAB had mixed things to say about his prospect for admission into their labs.

One reviewer stated, “Excellent applicant! Great GPA and GRE scores.”

While another added, “He may extremely smart, but difficult to engage.”

In the end two reviewers checked they would offer admission, while one checked “yes” and “no.”

Holmes also applied in 2010 to the University of Iowa’s graduate neuroscience program and was rejected. According to the Associated Press, Iowa’s neuroscience program director warned his colleagues and the admissions committee by email, “James Holmes: Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances.”

The alleged shooter enrolled at the University of Colorado Denver, and withdrew in the spring 2012 due to poor performance.

On July 20, Holmes entered and Aurora, Colorado movie theater killing 12 and injuring 58 others during a showing of the “Dark Knight Rises.”

Holmes faces numerous counts of attempted murder and murder.


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