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Johns Hopkins Accidentally Accepts Hundreds of Rejected Applicants

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On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of rejected applicants were crushed—for a second time—when they mistakenly received a welcome-to-Hopkins email from Johns Hopkins University, just days after they had already received notices of denial.

"Embrace the YES!" the email subject lines read. The university issued an apology Sunday evening and informed student there was, unfortunately, no reversal of previous denials.

"The decision posted on the decision site reflects the accurate result of your Early Decision application," the follow-up read. "We regret this technical mistake and any confusion it may have caused."

Not without reason, both applicants and parents were upset by the mistake, some suggesting personal apologies for the false hope of acceptance. "You don’t crush somebody’s feelings twice," said Cathy Stephenson, a mother of a rejected applicant.

David Phillips, vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Hopkins, called the e-mail mistake a "human error" and explained that the wrong list of email addresses was pulled for acceptance communications.

“We apologize to the students affected and to their families,” Phillips said. “Admissions decision days are stressful enough. We very much regret having added to the disappointment felt by a group of very capable and hardworking students, especially ones who were so committed to the idea of attending Johns Hopkins that they applied early decision.”

On Friday, Hopkins accepted 539 students (out of 1,865 early admissions applicants) for early entry. Of the 294 applicants who received the acceptance email, 285 had been denied and nine had been deferred.

Hopkins isn't the first to be caught in an embarassing acceptance mistake. Last December, Fordham University gave false acceptance letters to 2,500 rejected applicants. The University of California at San Diego suffered an even bigger mistake in 2009 when they sent acceptance letters to all 46,000 students who applied, including 28,000 that had been rejected.


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