Elation Turns To Devastation

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 3:03pm

Vassar College blames erroneous acceptance letters on computer glitch.

Prestigious liberal arts school Vassar College caused heartbreak for scores of early decision applicants Friday when it erroneously informed them they were accepted to the school -- only to tell them later they had in fact been rejected.

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.

In the 30 minutes before the website was fixed, 122 applicants logged on to the site, officials said. Of those, 46 read a correct letter from Vassar stating they'd been admitted to the college.

The 76 other applicants read a mistaken letter stating they'd been accepted for admission, when in fact they had not been admitted.

"My daughter logged on at 4 p.m. to find an acceptance letter," said Alise 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.'"

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."

"Vassar knows that early decision candidates have their heart set on attending there," said Shaughnessy.

"The acceptance letter my daughter received included a link which commanded the student 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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