Vassar Posts Acceptance Letter for Rejected Applicants

When 122 early-decision applicants logged onto Vassar's system to check their application status, they saw the good news: that they were accepted. But 76 were not. A test letter that a college spokesperson called a "system error" was mistakenly posted. Fortunately, even more of the 254 early-decision applicants hadn't seen the letter before the problem was caught.

On the website College Confidential, students posted their frustration:

  • "Is it possible to be admitted and then 2 hrs later have admission revoked???"
  • "It did the same for me: accepted at 4, reject at 5. I don't understand..."

Vassar sent an email to students to apologize for the error:

Vassar Apology
Catharine Hill, president of Vassar, also apologized:

"We are terribly sorry about the confusion and disappointment the erroneous information posted online caused the students. Our admissions process is a careful deliberation over several months, so it is so unfortunate to have this communication error happen at the end of that process for some of our early decision candidates."

 Discussion Starters:

  • The mistake is far too common, with the University of Delaware and other schools making similar errors. How do you think this could happen, and how could it be avoided?
  • Assess Vassar's apology letter. If you were a student affected by the mistake, would the email reassure you, or would you find it "lame," as one student said?
  • Rewrite the apology email in your own words. How could you improve it?