UC Berkeley accidentally sends admissions emails to pool of applicants before final decisions are released

Rachael Garner /File

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As anxious applicants wait for their college admissions decisions to be released, UC Berkeley added its name Sunday to the growing list of schools that mistakenly or prematurely sent admissions information to incoming students.

UC Berkeley Admissions announced that a “very small group” received premature admission decisions in a tweet Sunday.

Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore confirmed the incident in an email Thursday, explaining that an email related to financial aid was “inadvertently” sent to a small group of applicants prior to the release of admissions decisions. Gilmore added that this information does not reflect final freshman admission decisions.

It’s unclear how many applicants received the email, or whether the applicants were falsely — or prematurely — given acceptances.

Final decisions for freshman will be released by midnight Thursday, according to Gilmore. She added that the campus sent corrections to all impacted applicants Sunday when they learned of the issue.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our applicants,” Gilmore said in an email. “We understand this is an important time during the admission process and we regret if we have caused any confusion.”

A later tweet also informed applicants to check their [email protected] portal for their decision when prompted with an email.

This isn’t the first time UC Berkeley has tangled itself in an accidental admissions-related issue. In 2006, an admissions director at Berkeley Law  accidentally sent an email to all 7,000 applicants congratulating them on their admittance. The incident was quickly followed by an apology email and letter.

These mistaken admissions have become more visible in the last decade, with mixups occuring at a near-annual pace at various admissions offices around the country.

Here’s just a few:

  • In 2009, UC San Diego sent 28,000 acceptance letters to students who had already been rejected.
  • In 2012, UCLA informed 894 applicants they were admitted when they were, in fact, waitlisted.
  • In 2014, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, mistakenly included an automated tagline in emails, which said they had been admitted, to thousands of applicants — both prospective and those admitted early.
  • In 2014, Johns Hopkins University initially rejected 294 applicants, then accidentally told them they had been admitted, then ultimately re-rejected them by rescinding the erroneous admission offer.
  • In 2015, Carnegie Mellon accidentally admitted about 800 students to the master’s in computer science program and quickly revoked the offer of admission via email.
  • In 2016, Tulane University admitted 130 applicants and, again, revoked their admittance with a retraction email and public apology.
  • In 2017, the UC Irvine revoked the acceptances of 499 applicants two months before their college classes began, offering a mixture of justifications for the mixup.

And most recently, with Sunday’s incident, UC Berkeley — again.