Monday, December 11, 2023

W&M accidentally emails almost 350 waitlisted, rejected students

William & Mary sent 346 waitlisted and rejected prospective students emails meant to go to admitted Class of 2025 students. (WYDaily/Courtesy of William & Mary Facebook)

WILLIAMSBURG —  On Sunday, April 11, almost 350 prospective students received an erroneous acceptance email from William & Mary’s Office of Admissions.

The email was supposed to be sent to students admitted for the Class of 2025.

Due to a “processing error,” the university emailed an additional 346 prospective students: 111 had been waitlisted and 235 applicants had been rejected by the college.

The college did not find the error until the next morning. Suzanne Clavet, William & Mary (W&M) spokesperson, said that following the discovery, the office “immediately” sent an “apology letter” to the students who mistakenly received the email.

“The university is very sorry that any student received this message in error and for any stress it may have caused,” Clavet said.

Clavet added that the emails were “not offers of admission” but were “follow-up messages” sent by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on behalf of the college’s public policy program. These emails are usually sent to admitted students that were interested in the program.

These follow up messages are something the office typically delivers to students that are interested in a particular subject or program.

Screenshot of an email sent from Suzanne Clavet, W&M spokesperson to WYDaily on Friday. The message is an example of “the kind of message that went out,” Clavet wrote. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Suzanne Clavet, W&M)

“The query used in this case to select the students to include in the email did not include a parenthesis around the academic interest criteria, so despite having included filters for only currently admitted students, this expanded the result to include any applicant with an interest in Public Policy,” Clavet wrote. “And a message of apology went to all students who mistakenly received the initial message immediately after the error was discovered.”

“We have taken the step in our system to inactivate the emails of applicants whose application process has completed and no longer have any reason to receive emails from our office.” Clavet added.

Tim Wolfe, W&M’s dean of admission and associate vice president for enrollment, provided WYDaily with the following statement:

“We regret this happened and are sorry for any added confusion or stress it may have caused. I know that this process can be a stressful, emotional one filled with uncertainty. As a father who recently went through a college search with my own child, I recognize this from both a professional and personal perspective.

At William & Mary we want this process to be a compassionate one—that no matter the outcome, students know we support and appreciate them.

Additionally, we have already taken steps to confirm this was a singular situation, and likewise, to avoid any future occurrences.”

When asked if the person responsible for the clerical error received any disciplinary actions, Clavet noted it was a “processing error.”

“The university regrets any confusion or stress that the message may have caused,” Clavet said.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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