Vassar College Tells 76 Kids They Got In When They Actually Didn’t


Last Friday, Vassar College took 76 students on an emotional rollercoaster after mistakenly telling them they been accepted to the well-regarded liberal arts school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 

The blunder was first reported by Matt Flegenheimer of The New York Times, who was told by a Vassar spokesman that a “test letter” for early-decision applicants had not been replaced by the real admissions decisions before the results were posted online around 4 p.m. on Friday. By the time the error was corrected about a half-hour later, 122 applicants had checked the website. Only 46 students, however, had actually been accepted. 

Vassar’s president, Catherine Hill, issued an apology through email on Sunday night to the 76 students who were accidentally accepted. Hill also promised to reimburse the students’ $65 application fees, according to The Times.  

This note was also sent to Vassar alumni (via College Confidential):

Dear alumnae/i and families,

We know how sensitive the process of acceptance to Vassar is. Over our long history we have protected that process and the applicants so that the moment of notification can be as wonderful as possible for accepted students and as least damaging as possible for those denied. We put 76 applicants in a terrible position on Friday. A “test” acceptance letter that was a placeholder on a special website for Early Decision applicants inadvertently was left in place. By the time the error was discovered, 30 minutes after the time students were told they could check decisions, 76 applicants had read that they had been accepted when in fact they had not been. Each of those students was informed of the error and received our deepest apologies.

We are full of regret and we will be making changes to our notification system. We apologise to these students and their families, to our alumnae/i, our students, our faculty, to Vassar’s community.

Catharine Hill