Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools? UC San Diego's Admissions Gaffe

April Fools?

Via the Los Angeles Times, "UC San Diego admissions gaffe dashes students' hopes - again":

Cole Bettles had been rejected by a raft of universities when he received an e-mail from UC San Diego on Monday congratulating him on his admission and inviting him to tour the campus. His mother booked a hotel in San Diego, and the 18-year-old Ojai high school senior arranged for his grandfather, uncle and other family members to meet them at the campus for lunch during the Saturday orientation.

"They were like, 'Oh, my God, that's so awesome,' " Bettles said. Right before he got in bed, he checked his e-mail one last time and found another message saying the school had made a mistake and his application had been denied.

In fact, all 28,000 students turned away from UC San Diego in one of the toughest college entrance seasons on record had received the same misfired message, raising their hopes only to dash them again in a particularly cruel twist on the perils of instant communications in the Internet Age.

UCSD admissions director Mae Brown called the snafu an "administrative error" but refused to say whether the mistake was made by one or more members of her staff or by a contractor or if those responsible would be disciplined.

The e-mail, which began, "We're thrilled that you've been admitted to UC San Diego, and we're showcasing our beautiful campus on Admit Day," was sent to the entire freshman applicant pool of more than 46,000 students, instead of just the 18,000 who had been admitted, Brown said.

The error was discovered almost immediately by her staff, which sent an apology within hours.

The admissions director, who said she was in the office Monday until midnight answering e-mails and phone calls from disappointed students and their parents, said she took full responsibility for the error.

"We accessed the wrong database," Brown said. "We recognize the incredible pain receiving this false encouragement caused. It was not our intent."

All applicants were notified by e-mail weeks ago that admissions decisions were available online, according to UCSD officials, but Bettles said he was unaware he'd been rejected.

"It was really thrilling for a few hours; now he's crushed," said the young man's mother, Tracy Bettles. "Unless you have a high school senior, or remember what it's like, you don't know. It's really tough on them."
Read the whole thing, here.

Related: "
College applications now an open (Face)book: High school seniors learn a downside to social networking: lack of privacy over acceptance or rejection by universities."