Is Your College Acceptance Letter Real, or Just a Computer Glitch?
This fall, more than 2 million young adults will be enrolled and (theoretically) learning crucial skills that will help them lead productive and enriched lives in a college or university. For most folks in high school, the dream of higher education really gets kicked into high gear with the acceptance letter. This magical document is like a key that unlocks the door to education at the school of his or her dreams. Imagine the horror of receiving an acceptance letter to your school of choice, only to find out you got it because of a computer glitch.
This is more than just a nightmare scenario for potential students, college admissions officers from around the country admit that this is a reality year after year. According to The New York Times, Tulane sent out 130 erroneous congratulatory emails welcoming applicants to the prestigious New Orleans University just last year. Imagine the crushing moment for these families when the second email came to inform them that they were not deemed Tulane material. The LA Times reported back in 2009 that The University of California-San Diego famously sent out 28,000 messages congratulating new students, only to dash their hopes as well.
Colleges cite human error as the cause for these issues, but say the problem is magnified by the way contact information for applicants is stored, sorted and used. Basically, if the person in charge clicks on the wrong mailing list and hits send, a whole bunch of kids get a whole bunch of false hope.