Last Friday, Vassar College in New York mistakenly sent out scores of incorrect letters telling prospective students that they had gained admission to the school.
Jeff Kosmacher, a spokesman for Vassar, explained how a "test letter" that had been intended as a placeholder for the real admissions decision had not been replaced before they were sent, writes Matt Flegenheimer at the New York Times.
122 students received the accidental letter, 76 of which were later told that they actually have not gained a place at the college and the letter was a mistake.
The mistake was blamed on a "system error," Mr. Kosmacher said.
While some angered parents are requesting refunds of application fees, Kosmacher didn't let on that the school will be taking any measures beyond an apology.
As word spread among applicants, many used the site College Confidential to share their well-wishes and trepidation.
At 5:11 p.m. Friday, the first panicked message hit the College Confidential message board:
"Now it says I'm declined??????"
"Accepted at 4, reject at 5," read another. "I don't understand."
The parents of one student remarked that they were considering legal action after the debacle, citing the fact that these decisions are meant to be binding.
Dylan Leggio, 17, a student at Somers High School in Westchester County, was one such unlucky student to have been sent the wrong letter.
"My mom called, like, my entire family,"
"It was just a big letdown."
The situation is reminiscent of another back in March last year, where the University of Delaware accidentally sent out misguided congratulations to 61 applicants.
These kinds of errors have happened at University of California San Diego and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in recent years.
Some students are being philosophical about the ordeal. Leggio posted on the College Confidential thread that, actually, he preferred a school in a city after all.
Kareen Troussard, a student in Paris, said the episode may have exposed a graver truth.
"I want to major in computer science," she said in an e-mail, "and Vassar doesn't even know how to use a computer on the biggest day of our lives."