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Impersonal Acceptance Letter

March 23, 1999

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ Who says that students who go to big colleges get treated impersonally, like they’re just numbers?

Truman Bradley, of Boulder, Colo., for one.

The parents of Bradley, a prospective Arizona State University student, recently got a letter from the school that began: ``Congratulations on 987-65-4321′s admission.″ (The number used in this story has been changed.)

The letter, addressed to Truman’s father, Jeff Bradley, added that as a parent ``you will be a partner with the university in encouraging 987-65-4321 to succeed.″

The father’s reply: ``Thank you for offering our son, 987-65-4321, or as we affectionately refer to him around the house _ 987 _ a position in the ASU class of 2003. His mother, 123-45-6MOM, and I are very happy... .″

Tim Desch, director of undergraduate admissions, said the impersonal letter was a glitch in a batch of several thousand letters sent to prospective students.

In the first five, the computer picked up the student’s Social Security number instead of the name. Those were have been discarded but inadvertently were mailed, Desch said.

``We don’t know how it happened,″ he said.

The mother of at least one other prospective student informed the school that she’d received such a letter, said Desch. He could not recall her name.

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