On second thought, we don't want you - Macleans.ca

On second thought, we don’t want you

U of T retracts acceptance email sent to dozens of graduate school hopefuls


Wow, is this ever embarrassing. The University of Toronto School of Graduate studies mistakenly sent emails to dozens of students telling them they were accepted into the speech pathology program, when they were, in fact, rejected. Some 169 applicants received the erroneous email last Friday.

As the Sun reports:

“Welcome to the University of Toronto,” read the subject line. “Acceptance into Canada’s preeminent grad school is an achievement in itself,” the e-mail said. “We chose you because you’re at the top of our list. And we believe you applied to U of T because we’re at the top of yours!”

That message caused at least one student to be predictably elated. “I was walking on clouds,” Meara Brown, who is a University of Victoria student, told the Sun. “I told my references, my peers, my profs, my friends, and my family. My family started telling everyone in the small town I grew up in.”

Brown’s educational ego boost was burst just three days later, when the U of T sent a clarification email:

“On April 9 you received an e-mail from the School of Graduate Studies suggesting that you should have received an offer of admission from the University of Toronto,” the April 12 e-mail said.

“The e-mail was sent to you as a result of an administrative error. We sincerely regret the confusion this has caused.”

The U of T blames the mistake on a line of coding in the original mass email that was intended for the 45 students who were actually accepted into the program.

A not dissimilar debacle happened at the University of Ottawa last spring when the law school misplaced 600 applicants. To rectify the mistake, UOttawa admitted extra students, and at least they blamed it on “human error” and not on those dreadful computers as the U of T has done. I guess that is just the way things are done at “Canada’s preeminent grad school.”


On second thought, we don’t want you

  1. That’s really bad. I can’t imagine the emotional turmoil. Shame on these universities for mass-communicating a grad acceptance anyway.
    Email is fine, but only 45 got accepted–you can’t send them a personal email??

  2. In any case computer error IS human error. Computers are stupid machines that do as they are told. The fault is with the people and there should have been an admission of this.

  3. That same email was sent to accepted students from other departments as well – I received it too, about a week after I received a personal acceptance email from my department (not speech pathology). So they are considerate enough towards their admits, but that is horrible for the people who received the false acceptances! I hope they all end up happily attending other programs. I suppose an experience like that would leave you not wanting to attend anyhow!

  4. I got one too…guess I’m glad I’m not alone. I was so happy I thought I was one of the 45 out of some 400 applicants.

  5. I was actually sent not just that email but a written letter giving me acceptance into the university- only to get a rejection letter 2 WEEKS later… They apologized for the inconvenience…but inconvenience isn’t even the problem. Two weeks was enough time for me to begin making major plans as a future U of T student.

    inconvenience? that is a huge understatement!