As if college application season was not stressful enough for high school seniors, nearly 900 students seeking admission to UCLA were briefly led to believe they had been accepted to the highly competitive school, only to have their hopes dashed.
The University of California, Los Angeles, has apologized for the confusion, which stemmed from an email notice sent to both newly admitted and wait-listed students saying their provisional scholarship aid had been increased and congratulating them on their admission to the campus.
The notice, received over the weekend, included a link to a revised financial aid letter informing the wait-listed students, to their consternation, that they were, in fact, still waiting.
School officials acknowledged that the mixed messages added an element of confusion and angst to a process already fraught with considerable nail-biting.
On Monday, after catching their mistake, campus administrators sent out another email to the wait-listed students to clarify the error.
"We realize this is a particularly stressful time for students and parents as they try to make decisions about where they go to college," spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told Reuters on Wednesday. "We were aware of that and we apologize."
This year marks the first that UCLA, one of the flagship campuses of the University of California system with a student body of some 38,000, has offered a waiting list for applicants who do not gain admission right away, Vazquez said.
He said some 2,900 high school seniors opted to go on the list, from which the admissions office will draw additional applicants if the campus fails to meet its enrollment target.
But it was not the first time that University of California applicants were told "yes" before being told "no." In 2009, UC San Diego accidentally sent admissions notices to about 28,000 high school seniors who actually had been rejected. In that case, an apology was sent within hours.