Johns Hopkins Sends Rejected Students 'Welcome' Emails in Error

Rejection was "tough to swallow" the second time around, one parent said.

— -- Johns Hopkins University accidentally sent nearly 300 students emails suggesting they had been accepted to the school, when actually they had already been turned down, the school admitted.

The university quickly sent another note to those students on Sunday, apologizing, telling them that the "welcome" email was an error and saying their original rejection still stood.

"That was far worse than the original denial," Chuck Stephenson, whose 17-year-old son Sam was among the 294 students who received the error message, told ABC News today. "We all realize how difficult Johns Hopkins and some of the other premier schools are to get into, so the initial one wasn't a shocker. Everyone had gotten over that. But the second one was tough to swallow."

One student posted the messages from the school on Twitter:

Johns Hopkins' early decision acceptances were announced on Friday, Dec. 12. On Sunday, Dec. 14, the mistaken message welcoming students who were not actually accepted was sent "due to a human error at a vendor working for our undergraduate admissions office," said Dennis O'Shea of the school's media relations department.

"When the problem was discovered, we quickly sent out a correction to those who had received the message by mistake," O'Shea said. "We sincerely apologize to the students affected and to their families. This was an unacceptable error and we are working to ensure it does not happen again."

Sam Stephenson is a senior at Eastern View High School in Culpeper, Virginia. When he got the first email on Sunday that welcomed students to the class of 2019 and urged them to stock up on John Hopkins gear, "he assumed the original letter of denial was incorrect," his dad said. He still plans to apply for regular admission to Dartmouth, Duke, Vanderbilt and the University of Virginia, he said.

Of the 1,865 students who applied early decision to the prestigious Baltimore school, 539 were accepted.