Students devastated after Western Sydney University sent hundreds of acceptance offers by mistake

iStockWestern Sydney University has apologised after an error with acceptance offers.
  • Western Sydney University has apologised after mistakenly sending offers of acceptance to prospective students for its Bachelor of Health Science degree – some of whom never applied.
  • The emails were sent to some students as young as 15 as well as students in their second and third years, the ABC reported.
  • Western Sydney posted about the error on Facebook, which generated more than 2,000 comments.

Western Sydney University has come under fire from parents and prospective students after mistakenly offering early entry to several students for one of its courses – some of whom hadn’t even applied to it.

The university sent offers to hundreds of prospective students on Thursday morning via email and text, saying they had been accepted into the Bachelor of Health Science degree, the ABC reported.

However, the emails were sent to some students as young as 15 who attended the university’s Open Day, as well as staff and students in their second and third years.

One Year 12 student, Amelia Oliver, had put the health science degree as her third preference, the ABC explained. Her mother Michelle said Amelia was excited about the offer, but noticed something was wrong when several other students who hadn’t even applied to the degree posted about their offers to a Facebook HSC support page.

The issue was confirmed when they called a university hotline, which acknowledged the mistake.

“My daughter is devastated,” Michelle Oliver wrote on the Western Sydney University Facebook page. “I know human error occurs but this is messing with vulnerable kids that are already stressed to the max.

“We were messaging family with the good news, because unlike others she actually applied for this.”

One user on the Western Sydney University page, Courtney Leeanne, said she “was so confused” by the offer because she didn’t apply for it and “it isn’t the course I wanted.”

Western Sydney University acceptance email. Source, Courtney Leeanne on Facebook

Western Sydney University made an apology on its Facebook page, attributing the error to an issue in the email recipient list.

“This morning, we sent out some email & SMS offers to study with us. Unfortunately, this email was also sent to some people in error,” the university said on Facebook.

“The cause of this issue is currently being investigated and at this stage there is no evidence to suggest this was a data breach or hack, but instead an error in the email recipient list.”

There were more than 2000 comments posted in response to the university’s statement on Facebook.

One Facebook user, Belinda Brady, described the error as “poor form”.

“There are some shattered kids out there who had thought they’d gotten an offer and were over the moon,” she said. “Now they haven’t. Thanks for adding extra stress and unnecessary distress to an already hard time.”

In responding to Belinda, Western Sydney University said it was “genuinely upset about any stress” it caused.

“We’re still looking into the cause of this but it looks to have been a technical delivery error. Some people were meant to receive an offer today, and those people will be getting a call from our call centre,” the university said.

Western Sydney University also clarified the way to check if an email was sent by mistake – check the student ID.

“A student ID of “0” will appear in the email if it was sent in error,” the university said in a Facebook comment.

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