Johns Hopkins University shattered the dreams of nearly 300 applicants after accidentally sending welcome messages to students who were actually rejected or deferred.
The emails with the subject line "Embrace the Yes!" were sent as a result of human error, The Washington Post reported. David Phillips, vice provost for admissions and financial aid, says a contractor who works with Johns Hopkins on electronic communications pulled a wrong list of emails.
The students had applied early decision to the prestigious Baltimore university. Of the 294 applicants who received an erroneous message, 285 had actually been denied admission, and nine had received deferrals.
Cathy Stephenson of Culpeper County, Virginia, says she's irate that her son received a mistaken admission notice after an earlier denial. She says university officers should make personal phone calls to apologize.
The school apologized in a follow-up email and public statements.
Other colleges also have made embarrassing errors in admissions notices. In February, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent thousands of students a mistaken email about financial aid saying they were all receiving the information because they were admitted, but that was wrong.
Similar mistakes have been reported at Fordham University, Vassar College and at the University of California at San Diego, which in 2009 mistakenly sent acceptance emails to all 46,000 students who applied, including 28,000 who were rejected.