Vassar College accidentally informed students recently that they had been accepted to the prestigious liberal arts school, having to explain to them later that, oops, it was all a mistake. President Catharine Hill commented on the situation in an online statement on the school’s website:
“Dear members of the Vassar community,
“We know how sensitive the process of acceptance to Vassar is. Over our long history we have protected that process and the applicants so that the moment of notification can be as wonderful as possible for accepted students and as least damaging as possible for those denied. We put 76 applicants in a terrible position on Friday. A ‘test’ acceptance letter that was a placeholder on a special website for Early Decision applicants inadvertently was left in place. By the time the error was discovered, 30 minutes after the time students were told they could check decisions, 76 applicants had read that they had been accepted when in fact they had not been. Each of those students was informed of the error and received our deepest apologies.
“We are full of regret and we will be making changes to our notification system. We apologize to these students and their families, to our alumnae/i, our students, our faculty, to Vassar's community.”
According to reports, 46 students correctly read that they had been accepted, as well, by the time the error had been noticed and corrected. There had been, in total, 254 applicants in the early decision group.
It can be easy to brush the incident off as just a mistake, until one considers the real people behind the rejected applications.
"My daughter logged on at 4 p.m. to find an acceptance letter," said Alise Shaughnessy to NBC New York. "She was euphoric, all the family was told, and celebrations were planned.
"Just wanting to see the acceptance letter again, she logged on at 6 p.m., and to her horror, saw a rejection letter instead. Around 6:45 she received an email from Vassar, citing 'systems errors' and lamely apologizing for 'confusion.'"
According to Shaughnessy’s conversation with NBC New York, the mistake could have ended in disaster for some students.
"The acceptance letter my daughter received included a link which commanded the student to withdraw their other college applications, and then e-sign," said Shaughnessy. "She didn't but I'm guessing other kids did."
Image: Wikimedia Commons