Well, folks, They've done it again! Sending out letters of acceptance to prospective college students, when they meant to say, "deferred," or worse still, "denied." Ooops!

This time, it was Fordham University, which, through a third party contractor, mailed out 2,500 letters to applicants telling them they had been accepted, when, in fact, they had not.

READ, 2,500 Applicants Get False News of Acceptance to Fordham 


First of all, a third part contractor? Since when do colleges outsource admission decisions? Granted, this was only the mundane, ministerial matter of mailing out acceptance letters. But still? You can't even do that in house anymore? What next? Having admissions decisions made by someone in India, or perhaps by a displaced Chinese factory worker? [This would, at least, give Admissions personnel more time to blog, Tweet, and opine through social media outlets far and wide, complaining about the far too many applications that they have no time to read...]

Are admissions offices overwhelmed by the vast number of applications pouring in daily? Yes. Is there a remedy (aside from bemoaning the untold millions in application fees raked in by most colleges from starry-eyed students lured by slick marketing)? Indeed.

Cut back on those mailings, emailings, tweets and posts to every student who has ever signed up for the SAT, ACT or a gmail account. Stop encouraging the world to apply, particularly when most of those applicants would not qualify for admission.

Too busy to attend to the dirty little details attendant to the application and admissions process? Bring in a few student interns who, sworn to secrecy, could at least match up the list of accepted students to the acceptance letters. [Better yet, hire a Santa -- tis the season, after all -- who will check that list, twice, before letters go out.]

Beyond the mea culpa --"sorry, we didn't mean it" -- where is the accountability?

Admissions officers and committees frown upon the foibles of student applicants, from inaccurate or incomplete applications to tardy submissions, expecting, no, demanding, accuracy and accountability from those 17 year old kids, prone to making mistakes, at every step in the convoluted admissions process. But of themselves? Not so much.

Colleges ask students to take personal responsibility for their actions and behavior, in the classroom, on campus, and in the community beyond. And rightfully so. Students bear the burden of responsibility for everything from course work to debt load. Should we expect anything less in the way of taking responsibility from those whose job it is to make (and convey) college admissions decisions? We don't think so.

That mishaps, such as sending out acceptance letters erroneously, happen with increasing frequency, is troubling. Where so much is placed on the plates of young applicants, with the stakes so high, particularly for those who have entrusted their very futures -- the "most important decision of their lives" -- to the all and powerful Admissions office, the lack of oversight, let alone the attribution for such commissions to third parties, is disquieting. 

Disquieting, yes, but not altogether surprising. After all, it is the college admissions community, through direct participation, and with what amounts to a conspired complacency, that has been, and continues to be, complicit in creating and sustaining this inane, confusing, and unnecessarily complex application and admissions Golem, in whose monstrous tentacles these unwitting student applicants now find themselves entrapped. 

Oh, what a tangled web...

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