Story at a glance

  • Many high school seniors are anxiously awaiting acceptances from prospective colleges as graduation nears.
  • The University of Kentucky accidentally sent out acceptance letters to a list of 500,000 high school seniors, many of whom had not been accepted.
  • The university is apologizing and has notified the recipients of the error.

The agony of rejection can be difficult for teenagers to handle, especially when it comes to their futures in higher education. Perhaps the only thing worse is thinking you were accepted before learning, like 500,000 high school seniors did, that the acceptance letter you received was sent by accident. 

The University of Kentucky is now apologizing after thousands of students were mistakenly sent acceptance letters for a "selective" College of Health Sciences program that usually accepts 35 to 40 students a year — some of whom hadn’t even applied. 


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"Only a handful of those on the prospect list had been admitted to UK," University of Kentucky Spokesperson Jay Blanton told a local news outlet. "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 mistake also highlighted the side effects of transitioning to digital platforms as educators wrap up a year of remote learning after the coronavirus pandemic forced an abrupt change. The school cited a "technical issue" with the school's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool in an email obtained by LEX18 and asked students to contact recruiters with further questions. 

"Think of it as a much more sophisticated tool than say MailChimp to send a newsletter. There has to be a platform for distribution – whether a current student or one we may be recruiting. It is a common practice in higher education," Blanton told LEX18. "So, the student could have indicated they were interested in UK at some point or they may have sent an application. There are a number of ways we would have their contact information."


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Published on Apr 13, 2021