Applying to college is both a stressful and exciting process. And this admissions cycle has been a rough one for the 277 perspective Columbia University students who were accepted to Columbia just to be rejected an hour later with an email apologizing for the mistake within their admissions office.
I remember getting my acceptance letter to West Virginia University, and to my top choice, Point Park University. When I opened the letter from Point Park University in the elevator of their parking garage after a campus visit, there were no words to describe the joy I felt. When I opened my acceptance letter to West Virginia University, I also felt the unexplainable joy of knowing where I could be spending my next four years. I ended up calling West Virginia University my home for the following years.
On Wednesday, 277 future college students got accepted into their first choice graduate school: Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. I cannot imagine the joy they felt as they learned their hard work paid off to finally become a Columbia University graduate student. Moments later, the 277 students who were accepted got an email stating that Columbia University was "deeply sorry" for the "human error," but they were actually not accepted into the university.
On Wednesday, these students' dreams came true only to have their hearts broken moments later when their acceptance letter turned into a rejection letter. These graduate students who were hoping to get a master's in public heath, science, or health administration got a glimpse of their dream, but were then told that Columbia University "deeply apologized for this miscommunication" and that they "value the energy and enthusiasm that the applicants bring to the admissions process, and regret the stress and confusion caused by this mistake."
This isn't the first time that this has happened in the college admissions system. In 2016, Carnegie Mellon University sent acceptance letters to over 800 perspective students and proceeded to pull their acceptance claiming that it was a mistake. Also in 2016, New York's University at Buffalo sent out 5,109 acceptance emails on accident to perspective students who were supposed to be denied admission. In 2009, University of California in San Diego accidentally accepted 28,000 perspective students. Other universities who have done this are Johns Hopkins, Tulane University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.