university admission issue

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rich
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university admission issue

Post by rich » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:00 pm

I’m keeping this intentionally vague so as not to give away names of individuals, organizations, or universities.

An individual I know was enticed to change careers based on an advertisement from a university that turned out to have incorrect information. This university program would have provided the individual with education and employment. It is a graduate program that partners with a local organization that has a shortfall of positions in certain areas. In other words, the individual would work for the university partner organization during the day and take university classes at night. I want to emphasize this is not a fly by night university, internet only, etc. It is a well-recognized brick and mortar university that has been around for a couple hundred years.

The individual applied and was accepted into the university’s program. After acceptance, believing that classes and a new job would be starting, the individual parted ways with that person's place of employment of several years. Then, subsequent to the parting of ways, the university informed the individual that upon evaluating the individual’s credits, it turned out that this person did not have enough credits to meet prerequisites. Hence the acceptance into the program was rescinded.

Am I correct that it seems mighty unusual, if not unheard of, that the university didn’t evaluate the credits until after accepting the individual into the program? It seems that should be the very first step. The individual submitted legitimate transcripts and courses and the university placed no disclaimers when it accepted the individual into the program (e.g. acceptance is provisional until prerequisites are evaluated). Further, as mentioned above, the school gave incorrect information about prerequisites required in its advertising. This is a new university program offering and it just seems like the university messed up and now refuses to acknowledge its mistake.

The university is offering to do nothing. It simply keeps saying the person should reapply next year. Due to the uniqueness of the program, the individual may, in fact, want to reapply next year hence making it a little bit of a sensitive situation. The individual does not want to alienate the university or its partner organization. However, the individual is currently without a job and, in my opinion, has had short-term career prospects substantially damaged by the actions of the university.

Is there anything that can be done or that should be asked for from the university? Should the Department of Education be contacted? Should the university’s partner organization (who was not at fault) be contacted? Should the individual insist the university guarantees a spot in next year’s class assuming prerequisites are obtained?

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
Best regards, | Rich

TheAncientOne
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Re: university admission issue

Post by TheAncientOne » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:01 pm

Is this a for profit university?

rich
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Re: university admission issue

Post by rich » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:23 pm

It is a private university that has existed for a couple hundred years and is well known (e.g. not for profit like Kaplan, DeVry, etc). It is not a state university. The organization that the university partners with to provide the job is a state institution.
Best regards, | Rich

momvesting
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Re: university admission issue

Post by momvesting » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:26 pm

Is it possible that they misunderstood the admissions process? One master's program I looked at required that you first apply to the university. This gets you a student ID, online account, etc. Then you apply to the master's program. They analyze your transcript and either accept you or tell you which undergrad classes to take at the university in order to be accepted in the program.

rich
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Re: university admission issue

Post by rich » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:31 pm

I don't think there was a misunderstanding of the admission process.

The individual was accepted into the university program and then the acceptance into the same program was rescinded due to not enough prerequisite credits. Also the website information was corrected after the acceptance was rescinded.
Best regards, | Rich

student
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Re: university admission issue

Post by student » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:34 pm

A couple of comments. First is that I find it very strange that such an acceptance letter does not contain sentences stating that the acceptance is conditional. I would suggest that you contact the graduate officer of the department that the program is housed and not contact the dean of the graduate school or a unit with a similar title. Most department large enough to offer a good graduate program has a faculty member with the title of graduate officer or associate chair (graduate program) or something similar. This person will be able to help you much better than a bureaucrat can/willing to.
Last edited by student on Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

Loik098
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Re: university admission issue

Post by Loik098 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:37 pm

rich wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:31 pm
Also the website information was corrected after the acceptance was rescinded.
Was there any documentation kept from the time when the website was incorrect? Screenshots, emails, brochures?

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Alexa9
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Re: university admission issue

Post by Alexa9 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:37 pm

I don't think you have much of a case but a lawyer might think otherwise! :greedy

rich
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Re: university admission issue

Post by rich » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:47 pm

What should be done with screenshots? Send to the university?

Also, I don't think the individual wants to pursue the legal angle. The person just wants the admission they thought they had or an alternative, like acceptance into next year's class.

Thanks!
Best regards, | Rich

Loik098
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Re: university admission issue

Post by Loik098 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:54 pm

rich wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:47 pm
What should be done with screenshots? Send to the university?

Also, I don't think the individual wants to pursue the legal angle. The person just wants the admission they thought they had or an alternative, like acceptance into next year's class.

Thanks!
Evidence of misleading information could be used to pursue legal action. A lot can happen between now and a year from now; best to search for and keep all documentation and records of such an incident "just in case," even if no action is taken right now. This would include any future communications with the university, starting today.

AlwaysWannaLearn
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Re: university admission issue

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:02 pm

.....
Last edited by AlwaysWannaLearn on Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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celia
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Re: university admission issue

Post by celia » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:11 pm

Is this the case of being accepted into a university but not the "major" or "program" one wanted? If they had taken both the university and program prerequisites and did well in them, would they have been able to start the program without taking a detour for the prerequisites?

Hopefully, the individual has a college catalog (from their bookstore). Look up the admission requirements. Just because you've met all the requirements, it DOESN'T mean they will accept you, just that you meet the minimum requirements to be admitted. Then look for the catalog requirements to be admitted to the program.

If the person ends up attending in another year, I wouldn't put much in expectations for a job with the partner organization. I doubt they have a need to hire ALL of the students in that program, unless it is some kind of required (paid) internship with the organization.

You can probably also get feedback on the CollegeConfidential website by searching for the specific university and program to see if others are in the same situation.

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Pajamas
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Re: university admission issue

Post by Pajamas » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:41 pm

Since the university gave incorrect information about the pre-reqs, one approach would be for the person to meet with the Dean or the appropriate faculty member such as the head of the program who has the authority to waive or alter requirements for acceptance in the program and explain that the person quit his or her job and would appreciate being allowed to enter the program and take the pre-reqs as soon as they are offered. Sounds like it simply may not be possible because it is a joint program with a local organization that involves employment and that organization might also have a say in it, but that's where I would start.

Otherwise there is probably nothing to be done except to try to explain to the employer what happened and ask to be re-hired and then take the pre-reqs and apply to the program for the next year.

22twain
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Re: university admission issue

Post by 22twain » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:28 am

Loik098 wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:37 pm
rich wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:31 pm
Also the website information was corrected after the acceptance was rescinded.
Was there any documentation kept from the time when the website was incorrect? Screenshots, emails, brochures?
The "Wayback Machine" might be helpful here.
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carolinaman
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Re: university admission issue

Post by carolinaman » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:47 am

I would consult with a lawyer. One possible outcome would be acceptance in the program which is what he/she wants. It is worth a try.

stats99
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Re: university admission issue

Post by stats99 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:59 am

In the meantime, ask for the old job back

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FlyAF
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Re: university admission issue

Post by FlyAF » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:42 am

Here's a crazy question. Did this mystery person actually meet the prerequisites? Every time I've applied to a university degree program I've been well aware of if I met the prerequisites LONG before ever even making contact with the university.

Universities are big institutions with a lot of moving parts. It's not uncommon, heck I'd say it's actually quite common, for things to appear to be in line, but after final review by the university, it's found that a credit here or there is missing and adjustments need to be made. This is exactly why universities schedule a transcript review with the student in your final year and you apply for a graduation date. So that everything can be gone over again to make sure nothing was overlooked.

LOL @ people suggesting you lawyer up. Good luck trying to sue the school over an administrative error. I mean, have any of you suggesting this course of action actually gone to college? The whole thing is one big administrative error.

Personally I'd just get another job or do whatever until I met the prerequisites and could start the mystery degree program.

smitcat
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Re: university admission issue

Post by smitcat » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:51 am

A few questions not related to the exact college....

- Did the individual that you know get clearance and an ID number to register for classes?
- Did he/she register for the classes?
- Were those classes what she/he needed for the desired degree?
- Was a detailed bill sent for these classes? (like every college bill)
- Did this person pay a deposit for class or services for next semester? (not application fees)

I would say that if these things occurred there is recourse.

northernisland
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Re: university admission issue

Post by northernisland » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:13 am

Without adding a lot of specifics, you could still add something more, for instance "masters program with a practical component in education/professional studies/social sciences." I still don't really understand how this works, because usually degrees are not like this (where the job and the degree go together). I can think of PhD students who are guaranteed teaching positions or state jobs that might cover tuition, or fields like social work/education that often include internships, but I don't know what this is. Can you say anything more also about what courses were required? Would this be something like requiring several semesters of econ for and MBA or teaching credentials for a masters in education? How short were they of the requirements and why didn't they know this?

I think there is almost zero chance of suing for admissions. I have not heard of people doing this or of it working. I think the person could call or write and make them aware of how challenging this situation is for them and ask if there are any compromises (for instance: do prereqs this summer, enroll conditionally, take prerequisites in the fall and courses in the spring, begin the job component now with courses starting later, etc.).

Best of luck to them! Another place to ask is on the Chronicle of Higher Education forum.

OnTrack2020
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Re: university admission issue

Post by OnTrack2020 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:18 am

How many prerequisites are we talking about? A few classes or a year's worth?

I guess, if we are thinking about this logically, why would a university evaluate a potential student's credits before they applied? From a business standpoint, it would make no sense; otherwise, they could be evaluating credits all day long without there ever being that "relationship" between university and prospective student.

CurlyDave
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Re: university admission issue

Post by CurlyDave » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:07 am

To me there is not much to do but look for another job, and keep the communications with the University open.

IMHO it will be very difficult to prove any sort of damages. We are in the middle of the best job market of the past 50 years -- the best market any person currently working has ever seen. And, if I had to defend the University I could probably make a reasonable case that it is the best job market of all time.

Look for a new job and come out smelling like a rose...

Katietsu
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Re: university admission issue

Post by Katietsu » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:20 am

The key missing piece of information is how far from meeting the prerequisites is the applicant? And will the lack of the prerequisites affect the person’s ability to complete the courses or work as scheduled? Prerequisites can be waived or permission can be granted to finish them out of order. But this doesn’t help if the lack of knowledge will prevent the student from successfully participating in the program.

3feetpete
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Re: university admission issue

Post by 3feetpete » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:19 pm

Telephone conversations and emails will not work. The applicant should have a face to face meeting with the head of admissions so that he/she can convincingly argue the case. It's a lot harder for an admissions person to say no in person than it is on the telephone. If the applicant can't get an appointment he/she should walk in unnanounced.

I did this on behalf of my daughter for undergraduate school after a processing issue disqualified her for early admission and within a week the matter was resolved and within another two weeks a scholarship was granted as well.

rich
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Re: university admission issue

Post by rich » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:45 pm

Thank you so much, everyone. I really appreciate the feedback and I'll forward to my friend.

I keep hearing litigation mentioned and it may be a reasonable suggestion. However, I just don't think this is the approach this person wants to take.

Someone mentioned the media approach. What media? Are you referring to the university paper?

My friend is convinced the school knows it made a mistake. This individual is frustrated that the school won't do anything about it such as admission to next year's class. This person would be happy to fill in the newly discovered missing prerequisites with guaranteed admission but without it expresses a concern that the school will find a reason not to admit next year (even though the person was already "admitted" this year). The person feels it would be a giant waste if that happened.

Anyway, thanks again!
Best regards, | Rich

radiowave
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Re: university admission issue

Post by radiowave » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:53 pm

The original post is too vague to give any actionable information. However, let me work through some issues/questions.

First if I understand, your friend applied for admission to a graduate degree program (I'm assuming it is a masters) that ties in employment and education. Your friend would need a conferred bachelors degree from an accredited college or university to be eligible for the masters degree program (there are some rare exceptions). There seems to be an issue with credit hours, if your friend has a BS/BA then total credits is not an issue, probably there are specific courses that are required prior to admission into the graduate program and suspect there may be one or more courses that are prerequisites that he/she does not have, e.g. calculus, statistics, etc. While most universities have admissions office personnel that screen for these, sometimes it is difficult due to volume of applications and need to get a transcript from the registrar from another university. If you friend says they took the classes, one of the common reason for an application to get bumped is a transcript didn't arrive. That would be the first thing to check. It has to come from the registrar of the accredited school not the applicant. Second, look at the actual prerequisite courses and match them to a copy of the transcript of your friend to see if there are any discrepancies. Minor differences in course credit hours, whether the course had a lab or not, etc. can be problematic. If this is a situation where there is a mismatch between the stated prerequisite courses on your friends actual transcript there may be some wiggle room especially in a private university. That would be something your friend could negotiate with the dean of the school ( or department chair where the degree program is housed). I would start with the registrar of the school where the program is housed first and get specific feedback. As above, if this is a lack of a prerequisite course or two, he/she could ask for conditional admission contingent on completion of the missing courses within a semester or two.

Lastly, I would be very hesitant about calling in a lawyer at this point without knowledge of the actual issues and events. This could be something as simple as a missing transcript or confusion over matching up prerequisite courses. These are matters best handled at the registrar and department chair level. I am sympathetic to the plight of this person from a job situation, but there is not enough information whether this was something deliberate on the universities part. Things can be very complicated with admissions processes and if this is a very competitive program, I can see where admissions may kick out an application even if already accepted due to minor issues in the application.
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PhilosophyAndrew
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Re: university admission issue

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:14 pm

OP, what can be done by the University depends, in part, on whether admitting this applicant would violate accreditation policies or state or federal legal requirements. For example, if the pre-requisite in question is possessing an earned bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study, then admission is probably impossible because the University administration does not have discretion to waive that major pre-requisite

If, however, the missing pre-requisite isn’t as serious as that one, I would reach out to a member of the academic leadership team (not operational leadership or admissions leadership) and see whether, in this specific situation, the pre-requisite can be waived. The appropriate person to reach out to would be something like the program’s aciademic dean or the University’s vice president of academic affairs. Those leaders have considerable power to solve problems and could certainly waive minor pre-requisites if persuaded that this was in both the applicant’s and the Univesity’s interests. What this means, in practice, is that the applicant will need to make a persuasive case that he or she can flourish academically in the program even without the pre-requisite being met.

It is important that any discussion the applicant has with an academic leader focus on rational persuasion on the issue of academic fit of the applicant to the academic program. The University has no oblgation to review its decision or waive any reqiurement, so your friend would be interacting as a supplicant asking for a favor. Any complaints about misleading marketing are likely to end the conversation, and mentioning lawyers or a lawsuit will case the University to circle its wagons in full stonewall self-defense mode. So, persuasive diplomacy is required, not bluster, threats, or airing of grievance.

The appropriate graduate dean or academic VP should be able to tell the appplicant whether waiving the prerequisite is posssible. The key is building a persuasive case that the applicant will flourish in the program despite notsatisfying that requirement. Of course, it is possible that the University won’t be persuaded. But, as a former University Provost, I can tell you that a favorable response is possible as long as no accreditation or governement compliance issues are at stake and as long as you interact with a senior academic leader.

Andy.
Last edited by PhilosophyAndrew on Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

radiowave
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Re: university admission issue

Post by radiowave » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:23 pm

One other thing to add to Andy's comments, the school's course catalog is the official contract between the school and student and include plans of study, actual courses and course prerequisites. An advertisement is not a binding contract, the catalog is. Most colleges/universities post their catalog online so you should be able to access that. I agree with Andy, avoid being antagonistic, find the core issue or problem and see if it is possible to waive a requirement/prerequisite. If not, that needs to be addressed.
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getthatmarshmallow
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Re: university admission issue

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:58 am

PhilosophyAndrew wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:14 pm
OP, what can be done by the University depends, in part, on whether admitting this applicant would violate accreditation policies or state or federal legal requirements. For example, if the pre-requisite in question is possessing an earned bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study, then admission is probably impossible because the University administration does not have discretion to waive that major pre-requisite

If, however, the missing pre-requisite isn’t as serious as that one, I would reach out to a member of the academic leadership team (not operational leadership or admissions leadership) and see whether, in this specific situation, the pre-requisite can be waived. The appropriate person to reach out to would be something like the program’s aciademic dean or the University’s vice president of academic affairs. Those leaders have considerable power to solve problems and could certainly waive minor pre-requisites if persuaded that this was in both the applicant’s and the Univesity’s interests. What this means, in practice, is that the applicant will need to make a persuasive case that he or she can flourish academically in the program even without the pre-requisite being met.

It is important that any discussion the applicant has with an academic leader focus on rational persuasion on the issue of academic fit of the applicant to the academic program. The University has no oblgation to review its decision or waive any reqiurement, so your friend would be interacting as a supplicant asking for a favor. Any complaints about misleading marketing are likely to end the conversation, and mentioning lawyers or a lawsuit will case the University to circle its wagons in full stonewall self-defense mode. So, persuasive diplomacy is required, not bluster, threats, or airing of grievance.

The appropriate graduate dean or academic VP should be able to tell the appplicant whether waiving the prerequisite is posssible. The key is building a persuasive case that the applicant will flourish in the program despite notsatisfying that requirement. Of course, it is possible that the University won’t be persuaded. But, as a former University Provost, I can tell you that a favorable response is possible as long as no accreditation or governement compliance issues are at stake and as long as you interact with a senior academic leader.

Andy.
+1 to all of this. OP, the advice to get a lawyer or go to the media is well meant, but misguided. Universities do screw up, but it's not uncommon, especially for special programs, for offers to be conditional. E.g., you might have the grades to get into an early childhood education program, but if you can't pass a background check to work with kids, you're going to be dropped from the degree.

Getting a lawyer might mean your friend, after much time and expense, gets... what? Admission to a program for which he's not qualified? Damages because he quit a job prematurely? Maybe that works out. But it guarantees that the university will not work with you, which is the opposite of what friend needs. Go to the media? 50/50 chance the story is "entitled underqualified snowflake can't read fine print, thinks world owes him a job." That's not fair to your friend, of course, but fair doesn't go viral. And it still doesn't address the problem, which is that friend needs admission to this program.

So, talk to the program's dean or someone in academic/student affairs. Be prepared to have make a lot of phone calls -- be persistent, but polite, and your friend's goal is to persuade them that he's a good fit. Find out what the problem is, and if it can be remedied. This could be as simple as needing an official transcript. If it doesn't have directly to do with accreditation, it's probably waivable.

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