College mistakenly sends acceptance emails to students

By Faith Heaton | Posted - Jan. 30, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.



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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Several students had emotions flipped 180 degrees after receiving acceptance emails from Vassar College, only to find out a few hours later, that the emails were a mistake, and they had actually been rejected.

Located in Poughkeepsie, NY, the prestigious liberal arts Vassar College has been a sought-after item for many aspiring future college students. Some of these students apply months in advance.

"Vassar knows that early decision candidates have their heart set on attending there," said Alise Shaughnessy, mother of one the mix-up rejected applicants.


Vassar knows that early decision candidates have their heart set on attending there.

–- Alise Shaughnessy


According to school officials, a special website for early decision applicants went live on Friday and posted mistaken information about the admissions status of dozens of applicants.

122 applicants logged onto the early decision website before it was fixed. Of those students, 46 read a correct email from Vassar stating they had been accepted to the college. The other 76 applicants read a mistaken letter tellling them they had been accepted for admission, when in reality their application had been denied.

"My daughter logged on at 4 p.m. to find an acceptance letter," said Shaughnessy. "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," said Shaughnessy. "Around 6:45 she received an email from Vassar, citing 'systems errors' and lamely apologizing for 'confusion.'"

With the uproar of the acceptance letter confusion, the school president, Catharine Hill, said in her statement, "We understand how very upsetting this is for those students who viewed the inaccurate decisions that we posted online, and we are very sorry to have added to the overall stress of the college admissions process for these students and their families."

Shaughnessy called the school's response "callous" and "unbelievable."

"The acceptance letter my daughter received included a link which commanded the students to withdraw their other college applications, and then e-sign," said Shaughnessy. "She didn't, but I'm guessing other kids did."

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Faith Heaton

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