Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

'Error' Turns Joy to Dismay for 76 Applicants to Vassar

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

'Error' Turns Joy to Dismay for 76 Applicants to Vassar

Article excerpt

Scores of early-decision applicants to Vassar in Poughkeepsie, New York, were mistakenly told they had been accepted, the school said. The mistake was traced to an online system error.

Yap Zong Yao woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday in Singapore to check his admissions decision from Vassar College. He returned to sleep "overwhelmed with joy," he said.

Mahmoud Ghedira stayed up with family members until 11 p.m. Friday in Tunisia as they toasted the son who had impressed an esteemed American school.

Megan Curiel, from San Antonio, saw the good news on her iPhone and sobbed. Her father called relatives. She ordered two Vassar sweatshirts -- one for her and one for her mother. They popped Champagne.

"I was in," Ms. Curiel said, "for about three hours."

About 4 p.m. Friday, Eastern time, scores of early-decision applicants to the college, in Poughkeepsie, New York, were mistakenly told they had been accepted, the school said.

Jeff Kosmacher, a spokesman for Vassar, said Saturday that a "test letter," intended as a placeholder for the real admissions decision, had not been replaced before students checked their application statuses online. The error was discovered around 4:30 p.m., he said.

Between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Friday, the 122 students who had seen the test letter -- 46 who were, in fact, accepted and 76 who were not -- were sent a message from the college that cited a "system error" and apologized for the mistake, Mr. Kosmacher said. The correct decisions, the message said, were now available online. "If after checking your decision again you still have questions," the message said, "please feel free to contact the Admissions Office on Monday morning."

Though some parents have requested refunds of application fees, Mr. Kosmacher said that besides the message on Friday, "no other step is in the works." A total of 254 students had applied for this round of binding early decisions, he added, and some had logged in while the error was online.

Word spread quickly among the applicants, many of whom had been communicating on the Web site College Confidential in the days before the decisions were to be released, sharing their well-wishes and trepidation. …

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