We write about it each and every year without fail. In fact, we can’t remember a college admissions cycle in which it didn’t happen. One domino will, almost inevitably, always fall. This year, so far, a domino fell at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. But, Ivy Coach, what ever are you referring to…what dominoes are you talking about? We’re referring to universities mistakenly sending out offers of admission to students they didn’t intend to admit. We’re referring to that oops moment that keeps up just about every dean of admissions across America as they try to fall asleep.
As reports Christopher Mele for “The New York Times” in a piece entitled “You’ve Been Accepted to Columbia. Oops. Our Error.,” “When an applicant to the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health got an email on Wednesday saying it was ‘delighted to welcome’ her, she said she was overcome with euphoria. She began sobbing, and her body shook. ‘I couldn’t even control my body,’ said the applicant, a 23-year-old for whom Columbia was the No. 1 choice. ‘My teeth even started chattering. I didn’t even know that could happen.’ That jubilation lasted only about 75 minutes, however, as a second email arrived informing her — and 276 other prospective students — that the acceptance notices had been sent in error. When the applicant got the follow-up email, she said she had the same physical reaction as before — but for opposite reasons. She said that when she called the admissions office, a person who answered the phone apologized but could shed no light on why it happened.”
Shame on the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health for issuing acceptance notifications in error this year.
Every year we call on universities — undergraduate as well as graduate admissions offices — to be more circumspect with their notifications. These types of mistakes are entirely avoidable. There’s no reason for them. There’s no reason to get the hopes up of stressed out applicants and make the process all the more stressful. It’s high time that universities implement more measures to ensure these kinds of mistakes never happen again. While this year the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has already made an egregious error, we’re confident this school won’t be alone. We’re confident another school (or schools) will notify applicants in error this Regular Decision college admissions cycle. We wish we were wrong.
And so, we’ll cut to our refrain when these schools issue acceptance notifications in error: shame, shame, shame on Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health for this error! You can, you must do better.