February 25, 2006

E-Mail Mistakes: Premature Congratulations

You know that sinking feeling that hits you when you realize you accidentally hit "Reply All" instead of reply, or accidentally sent an e-mail that hadn't been completed or edited, or the sudden realization you accidentally CC'd somebody with a similar name to the intended recipient? We've all done it. Now imagine the absolute horror that befell the admissions director at UC Berkeley's law school, after they told ALL 7,000 applicants they had been admitted - when in actuality, only about 800 will make it!

As written in a Computerworld story released today, that very thing happened during an innocent training exercise.

The story says, "Tom was demonstrating the e-mail software used by the school and was highlighting several features, including how the user can filter mail and set it to send messages to one recipient or many at the same time.That’s when he chose what happened to be a standard congratulatory message on being admitted to the university’s prestigious law school and accidentally sent it to all 7,000 students who have applied for admission to the law school."

Now let's think about this. Do you believe any of these prospective law students have access to a say... lawyer? Haven't they suffered unjust pain and suffering? Do you remember the absolute stress you felt when you were awaiting acceptance letters from college or any post-graduate programs? To ride the incredible high and devastating lows of learning you'd been admitted only to find it was a clerical error is just mind-numbing.

You can see the school's admitting the error here.

When I was applying to colleges, I had applied to UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UCLA, as well as BYU and Chico State (for backup). Through one of the UC's more arcane rules, they didn't accept my selected major to UCLA, and chose to refund my $40 admission fee instead of taking my alternate major. After trying to re-apply and get back in the running, I eventually found myself rejected by UCLA, and getting in everywhere else. Finding out I didn't get into UCLA, even when I could blame the bureaucracy for part of it, was crushing. I had a dream of going to UCLA with my best friend from high school (he got in), and had that taken away with a small envelope that told me how difficult it was to get in in the first place. Now, 80 percent of these applicants to Berkeley law school will get to learn they didn't get in - twice.

No comments:

Post a Comment