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Story highlights

Hundreds were wrongly accepted into an elite computer science program

Carnegie Mellon says "serious mistakes in our process" led to erroneous emails to applicants

(CNN) —  

Carnegie Mellon University has one of the top computer science schools in the country.

Except maybe not on Monday.

That’s when the school’s admissions office mistakenly sent out acceptance emails to 800 rejected applicants for the university’s master’s program in computer science.

“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 … 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’s admissions officers forgot one obvious basic rule of email etiquette: Confirm that you’ve selected the correct recipient.

“It’s easy to select the wrong name, which can be embarrassing to you and to the person who receives the email by mistake,” said career coach Barbara Pachter, author of “The Essentials of Business Etiquette,” in an interview with Business Insider.

Carnegie Mellon isn’t the first university to electronically screw up its admission process.

In 2014, Johns Hopkins University mistakenly informed hundreds of early admissions applicants that they had been accepted, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2012, UCLA incorrectly informed 894 applicants on the waiting list via email that they had been admitted.