Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

St Andrews University apologies over 'congratulations' email

David Russell Apartments Image copyright Rhona Rutherford
Image caption Alcohol-free accommodation will be offered at David Russell Apartments in Fife Park from September

St Andrews University has apologised to hundreds of prospective students for accidentally sending them a "congratulations" email.

The email was meant for people who already knew they had been offered a place at the university.

But it was also sent by mistake to 760 who were still waiting for news.

The university said it quickly sent out another email of apology to them and was sorry for any disappointment.

The letter that was mistakenly sent to students began: "Congratulations on your offer of a place to study here at the University of St Andrews!

"You may have already chosen St Andrews as your firm choice, but for those who have not, I know that there are many things for you to consider before making the choice of where you wish to study.

"To help you to make that decision, or just to give you a bit more information about student life here at St Andrews, I would like to offer you the opportunity to attend an information day here in St Andrews."

'Very sorry'

A statement subsequently released by the university said: "We're very sorry that we wrongly sent an email to some of our Scottish applicants which may have given the impression that we had made a decision on their applications.

"The email should have gone only to a very small group of people already in receipt of offers from us to invite them to attend visiting days in St Andrews.

"In total, 760 of 3456 applicants received this email in error.

"The email was sent by alphabetical order and we believe that only applicants with first names from A to D were affected."

The statement added: "We moved as quickly as possible to contact all our Scottish applicants to explain our mistake and apologise.

"A follow-up email was sent to all within half an hour of the initial mistake and our staff were on hand throughout yesterday afternoon and evening to respond to phone calls and questions from applicants."

The problem was "human error compounded by technology", the university statement said.

"The team involved is devastated and the university is extremely sorry for the confusion and disappointment it has caused some applicants," it said.

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