About 4,000 students living in the Virginia area recently received an email from the University of California at Santa Cruz congratulating them on admission—an impressive accomplishment, no doubt, considering they never applied to the school.
A regional admissions officer mistakenly sent an email invitation to a list of prospective students instead of admitted students, the Washington Post reported, citing university officials.
“Congratulations on your admission to UC Santa Cruz!” the email read. “To celebrate your achievement and to provide an opportunity to learn more about UC Santa Cruz, you and your family are cordially invited to a special reception in the Virginia area on March 28th, 2016.”
Students interviewed by the Post said they were shocked by the email and some said they had assumed it was spam or a prank. The university sent out a correction on Thursday.
“While we did have you as a potential applicant for fall 2016, we realize that you didn’t apply to our campus, so please accept my apology for last night’s invitation,” said the university’s admissions director, Michael K. McCawley, according to the Post. “Wherever you did apply, I hope you were successful in gaining admission.”
The nearly 60,000 students who did, in fact, apply to UC Santa Cruz began receiving admissions decisions on Tuesday.
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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com