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

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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.”