Each year, thousands of high school seniors apply to top-ranked UCLA with hopes of graduating from a prestigious university.
But for nearly 900 high school seniors, that goal became a reality for only a couple of days after UCLA mistakenly told them they were accepted before issuing correction letters and apologies.
"We really do apologize to students and parents who might’ve been misled," said campus spokesman Ricardo Vazquez. "What makes it particularly difficult is that this a very stressful time for students and parents."
Over the weekend, the school's financial aid office sent out notification letters updating thousands of prospective students regarding their financial aid grant increase, including to 894 waitlisted students.
Mistakenly, the letter included the line: "Once again congratulations on your admission to UCLA. We hope that this information will assist you in making your decision to join the Bruin Family in the fall."
"The email's last sentence had a message to the effect of being admitted to UCLA," Vazquez said. "That was fine for the admitted students, but not the 894 students."
The letter included a web link for students to check their updated award status, but for those 894 students, the financial aid office website still had them labeled as "waitlisted."
The contradicting messages led to confusion for some students, who eventually called the financial aid office Monday for clarification. That's when the school realized the mistake.
"One message in the email was a very different than the message in the provisional award letter," Vazquez said. "The administration will look into this and put in safeguards to stop this from happening again."
Those 894 students will stay on the waitlist, he added.
The mistake was blamed on human error.
A similar incident happened to UC San Diego applicants in April 2009. University officials mistakenly congratulated nearly 29,000 applicants on their acceptance, and then shortly had to email them and clarifying the mistake.
A month later, UCSD unintentionally accepted students for a second time, but the number was significantly less at 600.