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The follow-up email attributed the mistake to “human error” and said that Columbia is “working assiduously to strengthen our internal procedures.

Columbia University mistakenly sent acceptance emails to 277 prospective students last Wednesday, The New York Times reported Friday.

Columbia said the emails “incorrectly implied” that the recipients were accepted into the Mailman School of Public Health Master's program, reported ABC News. Follow-up emails were sent about an hour later, explaining the error.

An unnamed applicant who received the emails called the admissions office, but was offered no explanation. 

“It’s ridiculous. I don’t understand how they can get away with it and just say ‘sorry,’” she told The New York Times.

The follow-up email attributed the mistake to “human error” and said that Columbia is “working assiduously to strengthen our internal procedures.”

Columbia's recent mix-up is far from the first of its kind. Time compiled a list of erroneous acceptance notifications, dating back to 1995. There have been disappointments for prospective students nearly every year, including before the time of email acceptances. In 1995, Cornell University erroneously sent out acceptance packages to 45 applicants.

Explanations for the mistakes can be ambiguous. According to Time, the universities cite reasons such as “technological glitch” in their “automated mail-merge process,” “human error” and “clerical error.”

In the last decade, there have been false acceptances sent out at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, New York University, University of California San Diego, University of California Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University, among others. 

Within this time frame, there have not been reports of an admissions mistake of this nature at Penn.

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