April Fools came early this year for nearly 4,000 applicants to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In what is now being referred to as an “e-mail goof”, the MIT admissions office accidently sent a mass email to regular decision applicants as well as accepted early action applicants containing an automated tag line that read, “You are on this list because you are admitted to MIT!” For prospective students already accepted through MIT’s early action program, the tag line was simply part of a routine mistake. But for the many applicants still awaiting a final admissions decision in March, those eleven words may have raised false hopes of admission to one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher education.
According to Chris Peterson, an MIT admissions counselor, the intended footer of the email sent to applicants still awaiting a decision from MIT was supposed to have read: “You are receiving this email because you applied to MIT, and we sometimes have to tell you things about stuff.” The problem, Peterson explained, was that they had recently combined two lists of students- those who had been admitted early and those still awaiting an official admissions decision. Evidently, the e-mail “footer” from the admitted group was somehow transposed onto all of the e-mails through the office’s MailChimp marketing system.
Since becoming aware of the mistake, the MIT admissions office has apologized to all applicants via their blog, and will be answering any questions or concerns via email. Despite the unseemly gaffe, scores of “hoaxed” applicants, who have taken to posting about the email on a college admissions forum, have been generally accepting of the university’s mea culpa. Time will tell if their forgiveness will extend past official admissions decisions when only 1 in 10 applicants will receive an “official” letter of admission.