The admissions office at Columbia University mistakenly sent out 277 acceptance letters to prospective graduate students on February 17, 2017. The letters stated that they had been accepted into the Mailman School of Public Health. The university reported that the letters were sent out 100 percent by human error on behalf of their admissions office.
Remember when you were applying for your dream school and you were over the moon about getting accepted?
Now imagine getting an email not even an hour later saying it was a mistake and you haven’t actually been accepted. Heartbreaking right?
The university did offer its sincerest apologies through email and verbally to anyone who called the admissions office with confusion. Saying sorry is a good start, but what happens next for the university’s admissions office?
One applicant that did an interview with the New York Times, she also asked to remain anonymous in hopes that she would still get accepted into the public health school, said her body was shaking with excitement when she saw the acceptance email. Once she received the following email explaining the mistake she felt like her whole world plummeted to the ground.
“We value the energy and enthusiasm that our applicants bring to the admissions process, and regret the stress and confusion caused by this mistake.” said a Columbia University spokesperson, but the rejected students still have confusion over how this can happen.
For me as a student, I would have been absolutely crushed if this happened to me. It is so common for myself and others my age to post big news on social media for family and friends to see. Even though it was just one hour of thinking that they had been accepted, that is enough time for many comments and reactions on Facebook. As a domino effect of that, students who are angry will also lash out on Facebook or another social media platform allowing all of their followers to see what has happened.
This did not look good for Columbia University. Although I do not think that it will affect their school in the long term, these 277 prospective students will be bitter about this mistake for years to come.
Overall, Columbia reacted quickly. They issued an apology right away which is nice, but now is the time for them to issue a following statement on how they plan to follow up with this and fix what needs to happen internally to insure this kind of heartbreak does not happen again.