The waiting game is down to the last few weeks for high school seniors and by the first week in April, students should finally have all of their college acceptance decisions in hand. For those who were accepted Early Decision, their wait was over in December. Some students already have a few acceptances under their belts right now–through Early Action or Rolling Admissions and even some Regular Decisions have been made.
Some students have heard by US Mail but many more have been notified by email. Sometimes, either a computer glitch or operator error sends a congratulatory email welcoming students to the college of their dreams to the wrong group of students.
The Washington Post described the latest incidence of this when Christopher Newport University in Virginia sent out 2000 emails to anxious applicants telling them the good news only to have to apologize later that evening for the error. At 2:30 PM they got the good news and at 6:45 PM the bad.
This is not the first time this has happened. I did a brief search and found the University of California at San Diego sent an erroneous email to 28,000 applicants who had previously been denied entrance.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Cornell University and Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School of Management have experienced similar goof-ups in recent years, but the UCSD incident Monday was by far the largest.”
Another article stated that emails were also sent to the wrong group at George Washington University and Vanderbilt. And The Harvard Crimson reports that it also happened at the University of California at Berkeley’s Law School.
This can be devastating to students. I would advise that any student who receives an email acceptance should, just in case, hold off doing anything permanent until further confirmation. Until you get the letter in the mail, usually with a packet of information, don’t contact the other colleges to which you have applied and tell them you are no longer interested.