The University of Kentucky mistakenly sent acceptance emails to 500,000 high school seniors for a program that usually accepts about three dozen students a year.
The school followed up with another email less than 24 hours later and apologized for its mistake, citing a “technical issue,” WLEX-TV reported.
“Only a handful of those on the prospect list had been admitted to UK,” UK spokesman Jay Blanton said. “The vast majority had not, nor had the vast majority of these students expressed an interest in the program. Nevertheless, we regret the communication error and have sent correspondence to all those who were contacted, offering our apologies.”
The acceptance was for this fall in the clinical leadership and management program in the College of Health Sciences.
“A very small number — a handful” of students who received the acceptance email “had expressed interest in this particular program,” and all students who should have been admitted received their acceptance letters, Blanton said.
Mary Dougherty, a senior from San Antonio, Texas, received the email.
“I was like, ‘Mom, I just got accepted into the University of Kentucky.’ And she’s like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you applied to University of Kentucky.’ And I was like, ‘oh, I did not,’” Dougherty told the station.
Other students said they never applied to UK, visited or even went on its website.
“I had to Google it just to make sure it was a real college because, like, I’ve heard of them,” said Erin Esping, a senior from Georgia.
The Associated Press contributed to this article