There has been no shortage of college acceptance mix-ups in the digital age.

acceptance-carnegie-emailApplicants to Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Science in Computer Science program are pursuing higher education. This week, about 800 of them learned a tough lesson: You can’t believe everything you read.

It’s something they learned the hard way after they received emailed letters of acceptance that were mistakenly sent by CMU’s computer science department.

The applicants received the congratulatory emails Monday morning touting the university and the city of Pittsburgh.

“You are one of the select few, less than 9 percent of the more than 1,200 applicants, that we are inviting,” it read. “We’re convinced this is the right place for you. Welcome to Carnegie Mellon!”

The “correction of prior email/revocation of offer of admission” notices went out about seven hours later.

“This was an error on our part,” wrote Frank Pfenning, president’s professor of computer science and department head, who also wrote the acceptance letter. “While we certainly appreciate your interest in our program, we regret that we are unable to offer you admission this year.”

The revocation email also included a request that recipients acknowledge receipt.

“This error was the result of serious mistakes in our process for generating acceptance letters,” CMU said in a news release. “Once the error was discovered, the University moved quickly to notify affected applicants.

“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.”

(Next page: A problem for other big-name universities)

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