This week, Columbia University made hundreds of hopeful students' dreams come true — only to crush them an hour later. The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health accidentally sent out emails to 277 students congratulating them on their acceptance to the graduate school. Following up the emailed acceptance letters was a notice that the email had been sent in error, and they hadn't actually been accepted.
In the follow-up email, Columbia attributed the mix-up to "human error" and made it clear it was "working assiduously to strengthen our internal procedures" to make sure a similar mistake didn't happen again. "We deeply apologize for this miscommunication," the email read. "We value the energy and enthusiasm that our applicants bring to the admissions process, and regret the stress and confusion caused by this mistake."
Columbia's Mailman School isn't the first school to make this mistake. Last year, Carnegie Mellon University accidentally sent acceptance letters to some 800 applicants, only to later take them back. Perhaps one of the worst failures of this ilk was in 2009, when the University of California, San Diego erroneously informed 28,000 applicants that they'd been accepted when, in fact, they'd been rejected.