University mistakenly accepts 800 applicants, then rejects them

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(CNN) — It was a colossal technical debacle by one of the best computer science schools in the country.

Carnegie Mellon University elated — and then crushed — 800 applicants who received email acceptance letters when they had actually been rejected.

“Congratulations on your acceptance into the Master of Science program in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon,” the email said, according to CNN affiliate KDKA. “You are one of the select few, less than 9% of the more than 1200 applicants, that we are inviting. … Welcome to Carnegie Mellon!”

Hours later, the euphoria was quashed by another email saying the acceptance letters were sent by mistake.

Carnegie Mellon issued a statement apologizing for the fiasco.

“This error was the result of serious mistakes in our process for generating acceptance letters,” the university’s School of Computer Science said.

“We understand the disappointment created by this mistake, and deeply apologize to the applicants for this miscommunication. We are currently reviewing our notification process to help ensure this does not happen in the future.”

Carnegie Mellon was in a four-way tie for the best graduate program in computer science last year, according to rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

“I think that just makes it worse” for those rejected, student Luis Arreaga told KDKA. “It’s such a prestigious school. Especially computer science in general, it has such a low acceptance. … It’s an even bigger fall.”

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