Carnegie Mellon erroneously sends computer science admission letters to 800, because computers


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Carnegie Mellon admissions, still up to shenanigans! Back in the late 80s I wanted to apply, but could NOT get them to send me an application. I actuator for a scholarship in the mail from them, but still couldn’t get the d–n paperwork until after the submission deadline.

Most automated workflows replicate an existing manual workflow. And if the manual processes had issues, the automated process will as well.

“You were made as well as we could make you.”


On the bright side, perhaps the rejection won’t sting as much, maybe this computer school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…


Hah. When I was working there (about 15 years ago) those letters were generated by a giant crazy Microsoft Word/Excel mail merge script (I had to update it from time to time).

I would not be at all surprised if that was still the case. At the time that department still had a fair number of people working on Mac Pluses & SEs (in 1998!).

There is about zero overlap between the CS department and the Printing & Publications department, besides the fact that they often hired students (like me) to maintain their systems. I had about zero real world development experience, and even if I had enough experience to know how easy a system like that would be to screw up royally, I’d still have had to convince the department to spend the money to do so.

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I have a friend who had the reverse happen to him- his first-choice college accidentally sent everyone rejection letters. I’m not sure whether he’d opened his before they phoned him to say that it was a mistake and he’d actually been accepted.

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Also erroneous is that picture which is of front quad in The Queen’s College, Oxford.


The ones who persevere, standing on the porch for three days and nights with no encouragement… they’re in.

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Hey I had a similar situation! I also applied to undergrad in the mid 80s and found out I was wait-listed while on a campus visit. They went and got the file to discuss options and it was blended with some other student’s file. After much “discussion” they agreed to look into it and I received an acceptance letter a week or so later. I went there and loved it so all was forgiven.

But…how embarrassing to have a leading computer science botch the most important thing in many of these students lives!!! I am sympathetic for the heartbreak for many of those students, because they thought they got into one of the hardest programs to get into, the letter itself told them. Maybe they should admit everyone and have an 8 times larger class as compensation and suffer the obvious problems of stretched resources, though they do have 200 faculty.

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