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February 19, 2010 10:00 AM For $41,000 a Year You’d Think GW Could Send the Right Email

By Daniel Luzer

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On February 1 George Washington University sent out its welcome email to the students who had been admitted to the school under the early-decision program.

Awkwardly, however, GW also sent congratulations emails to about 200 applicants who were not admitted to the school, according to an article in The Hatchet, the GW student newspaper.

A few hours later Kathryn Napper from the GW admissions office sent out another email to some of the applicants, explaining:

This afternoon, you received an e-mail from me titled ‘Important GW Information.’ Unfortunately, this e-mail was sent to you in error. We are truly sorry for this confusion regarding your application to GW.

Because it was an early-decision message, however, the email from Napper did not fully clarify the situation. Some students sent the original email were accepted, some were rejected, and some were deferred into the regular admissions pool and wouldn’t know whether or not they were admitted until spring. Despite the fact that the GW admissions office was single-handedly responsible for this emotionally upsetting correspondence, it still couldn’t be bothered with correcting the problem over email. Students were told they had to figure out their status themselves: “check your official status online.”

The GW gaffe was at least somewhat less awful than the situation at the University of California at San Diego, which last year sent congratulations emails to all 46,000 people who applied to the school. Only about 40 percent of applicants had actually been admitted.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer