Since snow was delaying mail, admissions officials opted to send the official acceptance packets for the GWU class of 2014 by e-mail. So, everyone who was accepted to GWU under early action got one—but so did hundreds of applicants who had already been told they’d been rejected.
Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Services Robert Chernak told the GW Hatchet that the mistake was the result of a clerical error made when Admissions decided to e-mail instead of mail the packets.
“Executive Dean of Undergraduate Admissions [Kathy Napper] felt that it would be a good idea to send an e-mail to those people who were accepted, that was the theory, for Early Decision II,” he said. “As those instructions went down the chain of command in the admissions office to the operational level, the individual who sent out the e-mail… touched the wrong button on the list.”
“This afternoon, you received an email from me titled ‘Important GW Information.’ Unfortunately, this email was sent to you in error,” the Office of Undergraduate Admissions wrote in apology, “We are truly sorry for this confusion regarding your application to GW.”
The Washington Post points out that this has happened often in the past few years as universities use e-mail more and more in their acceptance notification processes:
“Cornell University sent a message in 2003 saying “Greetings from Cornell, your future alma mater!” to nearly 550 early-decision rejectees. Last year, the school’s financial aid office accidentally e-mailed 25 students who had not been accepted. On April Fools Day last year, New York University mistakenly congratulated 489 students who had been rejected. Northwestern did the same thing to 50 graduate school applicants in 2008 and refunded their application fee as an apology.”
“One of the biggest gaffes was at the University of California, San Diego last spring, when the admissions office sent acceptance e-mails to all of the 46,000 students who had applied, including the 28,000 who had not gotten in.”
As a small consolation, the message was sent to early decision applicants after acceptances and rejections had already been announced by the University online. It’s unclear just how many students mistakenly received the e-mail. Original reports were that it was around two hundred students, but a follow-up by the Hatchet reports that every Early Decision II applicant—up to 800 people—got the e-mail.
Photo by Flickr user wallyg used under a Creative Commons license.