Watch CBS News

Columbia University Mistakenly Emails Nearly 300 Acceptance Notices

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Imagine receiving a letter saying you have been accepted to Columbia University, only to find out it was a mistake.

That is exactly what happened to 277 applicants, CBS2's Erin Logan reported. The emails were sent Wednesday and "incorrectly implied'' that the applicants had been accepted into its School of Public Health's Master's program.

The university is now apologizing.

"Some people are very upset about – I think it depends on the person," said Ben Wang.

Columbia University officials confirmed that 277 incorrect acceptance letters were sent out to applicants for the school of Public Health's Master's Program.

"If I were a student that received that letter, I definitely would've been upset," Wang said. "But I feel like these things happen at universities, and I really don't know what type of reprieve the university would allow for, because I mean, they can't accept them if the original decision was to be that they weren't accepted."

The mistake was noticed immediately, and university officials said within an hour, apology emails were sent out to all 277 applicants.

"We deeply apologize for this miscommunication," Vice Dean for Education Julie Kornfeld said in a statement. "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 blamed the mistake on human error and said it is strengthening internal procedures to ensure this doesn't happen again in the future.

But some believed the damage was done.

"There's still that hour you probably told everyone you know. Your told your friends, you put it on Facebook, and then – oops, it didn't happen," said Victoria Fashakan. "That's so incredibly heartbreaking. I'm very sad to hear that that happened to people.

Fashakan, a third year medical student, and Wang, an undergrad student, had slightly different perspectives. Wang says the mistake would have hurt a lot more if the letters were sent to high school students entering college.

Fashakan said it hurts either way, but things happen for a reason.

"I kind of believe people end up where they're meant to be, and even if it's not at Columbia," she said.

University officials said they are working to strengthen the internal procedures to make sure such a thing does not happen again.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.