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2,500 Fordham University applicants received financial aid letters this week congratulating them on their admission to the school.


The only problem? The letters, which were reportedly sent by a third-party contractor, did not actually reflect the students’ real admission status. They were told to log onto the school’s website for the real results on Thursday. Some students were relieved, but others were crushed.

As horrifying as the blunder is - the college application period is already emotionally fraught and would-be students are in no need of an additional emotional rollercoaster ride - Fordham is far from alone.


Here are 10 other schools that have botched their admissions:

1. Cornell University, 1995, 2003 and 2009

Back in 1995 when people still used paper instead of email, the Ivy League university made a “clerical error” when it sent several dozen applicants early-decision acceptances. Students were left crushed when they learned they’d received the “fat envelope” by mistake. It happened again in 2003, when the school sent welcome letters to nearly 2,000 high-school seniors who had applied early decision, including more than 500 who had already been rejected. In 2009, the financial aid office mistakenly sent an email to students who had not been accepted. Oops?

2. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2007

A couple of employees from the undergraduate admissions office were sweating under the collar when they accidentally sent an email to several thousand second-deadline applicants asking for their midyear grades that began, “Congratulations again on your admission…” The problem was, they hadn’t actually been admitted and their applications were still under review.


3. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, 2008

The Kellogg School of Management is renowned for developing future business leaders. But they’ve had some trouble with their own operation. Around 50 applicants were accidentally sent an acceptance email instead of the correct rejection notice they would later receive. The school blamed a computer glitch.


4. New York University, 2009

Nearly 500 graduate school applicants received an unpleasant shock when they found out their acceptance notifications should have been rejections. It played out like a bad April Fool’s joke. The school sent emails of congratulation on April 1 but later said a clerical error had occurred and retracted them.


5. University of California, San Diego, 2009

The La Jolla-based university screwed up royally when someone sent a false welcome email to 28,000 applicants. While the email did go out to admitted students; it also went to those who had been rejected earlier in the month. Talk about emotional whiplash.


6. George Washington University, 2010

Around 200 applicants who applied for early admission to the Washington, D.C. university opened a congratulatory email only to be sent a followup several hours later informing them the original message was a mistake.


7. Vanderbilt, 2010

Nearly 60 Vanderbilt applicants who had actually been rejected didn’t know they were in for a major letdown when they received erroneous email notification of their acceptance. The email was shortly followed by another informing them the first was a mistake.


8. University of Delaware, 2011

When applicants logged into the admissions website they saw a congratulatory message on the screen. The only problem was that more than 60 of the applicants had actually been waitlisted or rejected entirely.


9. University of California, Los Angeles, 2012

UC San Diego (see above) isn’t the only University of California campus to mistakenly issue positive admissions announcements. UC Los Angeles apologized in 2012 for erroneously informing nearly 1,000 waitlisted applicants after they received financial aid notices that indicated they’d been admitted.


10. Vassar College, 2012

Vassar had to scramble after a “test letter” that was meant to be a placeholder for the actual admissions decision was sent to around 100 applicants informing them of their acceptance. In reality, not all of them had made the cut when they later checked their application statuses online.


Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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