The University of Kentucky accidentally sent 500,000 acceptance emails for a selective program.
A university spokesman told WLEX-TV a "technical issue" was responsible for the mixup.
Many of the students who received the email in error hadn't even applied to the university.
Less than two months before national College Decision Day, one Kentucky university made a technological error to the tune of 500,000 mistaken acceptance emails.
On March 15, the University of Kentucky sent hundreds of thousands of acceptance emails to high school seniors for a program that typically only accepts 35 to 40 students, according to WLEX-TV.
An error in the school's customer relationship management tool resulted in accidental acceptances to the university's selective clinical leadership and management program in the College of Health and Sciences, the outlet reported.
Mary Dougherty, a high school senior from San Antonio, Texas, was among the thousands who received the mistaken email.
"I was like, 'Mom, I just got accepted into the University of Kentucky,'" Doughtery told WLEX-TV. "And she's like, 'Oh, I didn't know you applied to University of Kentucky.' And I was like, 'oh, I did not.'"
Other students who received the email told the outlet they had never even heard of the university, let alone applied to the selective program.
"I had to Google it just to make sure it was a real college because, like, I've heard of them. But I'm not so sure," Erin Esping, a senior from Georgia told WLEX-TV.
A spokesman for the university told the outlet that only a handful of students who received the email in error had actually expressed interest in the particular program.
"Only a handful of those on the prospect list had been admitted to UK. The vast majority had not, nor had the vast majority of these students expressed an interest in the program," Jay Blanton told the station. "Nevertheless, we regret the communication error and have sent correspondence to all those who were contacted, offering our apologies."
He also said all the students who actually had been admitted to the program should have already received their acceptances.
The school reportedly followed up with an apology and explanation email within 24 hours of the initial mistake, according to The Associated Press.
Blanton told WLEX-TV that the university's distribution management system could have had students' contact information if they indicated they were interested in the school at some point during their college search or if they sent in an application.
"It is a common practice in higher education," he told the outlet.
Some of the students who mistakenly received the email told WLEX-TV that they were initially worried they had applied by accident and taken someone else's spot.
"I'd be heartbroken," Texas senior Gabriel Botello, who did not apply to the University of Kentucky, told the outlet. "Reading that 'congratulations you're in' for students who really wanted it, that must have been horrible…"
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