Vassar Accepts, then Rejects 76 Students

Vassar Accepts, then Rejects 76 Students

School is Doing Damage Control After Major Error

Last week, 76 early-admission applicants to Vassar College received what they wanted—a binding acceptance letter to the school for next academic year. A few hours later, they received an email that their acceptances were sent in error, and they were not admitted to the school. Now, Vassar is doing some damage control while the students are reeling from this upsetting experience, with some even threatening legal action. Check out the full write-up on this incident from The New York Times.

Early admission at Vassar is binding, meaning that if the student gains admission, he or she must attend Vassar and withdraw applications at other schools. This binding contract is leaving some of the rejected students (and their parents) to argue that Vassar must admit the students due to the binding nature of early admission. A nice try, yes, but I don’t think that argument holds up.

Vassar made a mistake—a mistake that left 76 high-school seniors very disappointed. But, the school remedied the mistake within hours. It’s not as if the students spent weeks planning their life at Vassar, only then to be told they weren’t admitted. The school is entirely to blame for this mistake, and its offer to reimburse the students’ $65 application fee doesn’t take the sting away. Vassar also offered to reach out to other schools if the students happened to withdraw their applications during that short time frame in which they thought they were going to Vassar. Frankly, it’s the least the school could do.

However, the mistake doesn’t mean that rejected students should be admitted. There are hundreds of other applicants for regular admissions still waiting to hear back from Vassar. Giving the rejected students a spot due to a clerical error means some deserving students who applied for regular admissions won’t get in. That situation is equally unfair. Vassar can’t really win here, but it has to help the rejected students as best it can and move on. It’s the best situation for both parties.