This sort of thing happens at different schools every once in a while, usually due to clerical error. That doesn’t make it any easier for the students, though.

CBS News reports:

Not so fast on those acceptance notes, Columbia University says

Columbia University says it’s strengthening its procedures after it accidentally sent acceptance notices to 277 prospective students and then recalled them.

Columbia says the emails, sent Wednesday, “incorrectly implied” that the applicants had been accepted into its School of Public Health’s Master’s program.

The university said Friday that it immediately discovered its mistake and sent follow-up emails within an hour.

Vice Dean for Education Julie Kornfeld says Columbia “deeply” apologizes. She says Columbia values applicants’ “energy and enthusiasm” and regrets the “stress and confusion” the mistake caused.

“Some people are very upset about – I think it depends on the person,” said Columbia undergrad Ben Wang, CBS New York reports. “If I were a student that received that letter, I definitely would’ve been upset. But I feel like these things happen at universities, and I really don’t know what type of reprieve the university would allow for, because I mean, they can’t accept them if the original decision was to be that they weren’t accepted.”