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College Decisions–By Mail or on the Web?

Jay Mathews of The Washington Post posed this question to his readers today. Would they rather get their admissions decisions by mail –the old fashioned way– or by logging on to a website to find out their fate?

Although I really like the idea of knowing an exact day and time to log on and getting an answer instantly, my vote is for the mail. Why? I think there is less of a chance of a college making a mistake.

On March 8 of last year I posted a blog about an admissions error at Christopher Newport University in Virginia where they sent out 2000 emails congratulating students on their acceptance, only to have to take back their good wishes a few hours later. That was not an isolated case and I listed several other examples.

Then on March 18 I posted about another mistake that had just happened, this one closer to home, at the University of Delaware.

This January, Vassar College informed 76 students that they had been accepted early decision, but in fact they had not. A letter from the president of Vassar to alumni explained the error and then said “Each of those students was informed of the error and received our deepest apologies.” They also had their application fee refunded.

Hearing that you are admitted and then having a college say, “Sorry, we goofed, you really were rejected” is devastating. It is March and in the next few weeks, students will be receiving their admissions decisions. I really hope we don’t have a repeat of those headlines, but I won’t be very surprised if we do.

My vote–snail mail. And, my advice is after you receive the news online, wait at least a day to make sure there were no mistakes before you tell anyone outside of your immediate family.

Janet Rosier