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UNC Chapel Hill Admits E-Mail Blunder

The university acts quickly to reassure 2,703 applicants mistakenly e-mailed that they were officially admitted.

Nearly 2,100 applicants to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were mistakenly told this week that they were accepted to the campus.

Two employees from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions erroneously sent an e-mail to second-deadline candidates requesting the submission of their midyear grades.

The problem is that applications for those 2,703 first-year candidates who applied by the university's January -- or second deadline -- are still being reviewed and the students won't be notified until around March 31.

The erroneous e-mail begins, "Congratulations again on your admission to the University. We require all admitted students to submit midyear grades to us online."

A university spokesperson told InformationWeek on Friday that this is the first such incident in the five or six years that the admissions office has been using e-mail to communicate with applicants.

The admissions office has been working overtime to fix the situation.

"We continue to regret this error and to focus on these candidates, who have honored us by applying for admission to Carolina," says Stephen Farmer, the Assistant Provost and Director of Undergraduate Admissions at UNC. Farmer's office has set up an e-mail address and has been accepting phone calls from students, parents and counselors.

In addition to the two e-mail apologies the university sent Wednesday to all second-deadline candidates -- one from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and a second from Farmer -- the university is communicating by letter with the 2,703 students to whom they sent the mistaken e-mail. These students include 743 from North Carolina and 1,960 from outside the state.

Officials said admissions decisions are communicated only through mail and through students' UNC home pages.

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