Queen’s apologizes for misleading admissions email

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The University apologizes for sending out welcome emails to prospective students congratulating them on their ‘acceptance’ to Queen’s before an offer of admission was made.

The email, sent out on May 6, congratulated students and welcomed them to the Student Experience Office (SEO), which assists students in their transition to university. The SEO sent the email before some students were accepted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Following the original email, the Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment Office sent an apology email on May 6, telling students to disregard the first email.

“This email was intended for students who have already been offered admission,” the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment said in the email. “We sincerely apologize for this error and for any confusion this may have caused.”

Eli Ovayda, a prospective student, got into Queen’s for the 2021-22 school year but learned on short notice he needed to spend a year abroad during the year. He requested a deferral, which the University denied. He reapplied this year with hopes of attending Queen’s this fall.

“I received the first email, wishing me congratulations and a welcome to the [SEO], on May 6. The second, apologizing for the impromptu message, was sent the next day,” Ovayda said in a statement to The Journal.

Ovayda hadn’t received a formal acceptance to Queen’s when the University sent him a “false acceptance letter,” nor was he accepted in the last batch of acceptances sent out on May 20.

“This being an especially stressful time for me, living overseas and just regaining my footing after the pandemic, it was quite distressing to be brought up then immediately shot back down right after,” Ovayda said.

Ovayda reapplied to York University and was officially accepted, but he forfeited his offer on May 1, the deadline for accepting an offer of admission.

“Although I was offered admission, I quickly lost it, as their deadline was May. 1. Queen’s being so far behind has in result forced itself to become my only option,” Ovayda said.

Ovayda spoke about the stress the application process caused him.

“I now have a house that I am leasing, a moving company waiting for my call to ship over all of the furnishing for it, and no other [university] options for my schooling come the fall 2022 semester.”

Ovayda stated his stress wasn’t reduced by the correction email, especially considering the official rejection letter he later received.

“[I] hope this unfortunate mishap will help to improve Queen’s acceptance system in the future,” Ovayda said.

Students said applicants to the class of 2025 were sent similar emails with misleading subject lines last year. According to these students, these subject lines implied the emails were acceptance emails.

“I read it and at first glance or looking at the notification it looks like an acceptance email,” Owen Juan, Kin ’25, said in an interview with The Journal. “I think it was intentionally vague just to get you to open [the email].”

One of the emails, sent on March 31, 2021, was titled “Ready to be #QueensUBound2021?” Juan received this email prior to his official acceptance to Queen’s. The email was about a webinar.

Juan said when he received his formal acceptance, it was through email as well.

In a statement to The Journal, the University said they would review how their mass email communications are sent out in the future.

“We understand the confusion this may have caused many applicants and their families, and we sincerely apologize for this error,” the University said.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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