Johns Hopkins University mistakenly sent a welcome e-mail to 294 students who had been turned down or deferred in their bid for early admission. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Here is the sequence of communication from Johns Hopkins University to Sam Stephenson, a Virginia student who applied for early admission to the class of 2019 in the prestigious private institution in Baltimore. First, Sam was directed, like all other “Early Decision” applicants, to a secure Web site to see the verdict. Those notifications were posted at 3 p.m. Friday. Sam and several hundred others were denied. Then he received two emails on Sunday, the first one a mistake and the second an apology. In all, 294 applicants who had not been admitted received the mistaken email Sunday. Of those, 285 had been denied and 9 deferred for consideration in the regular admission cycle.

The sequence:


Dear Samuel,

Thank you for your interest in Johns Hopkins University. After a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are not able to offer you admission.

Every year we receive a large number of applications from qualified students, making admission to Johns Hopkins a highly selective process. Since your Early Decision application reflected a first-choice preference for Johns Hopkins, we know this news comes as a disappointment to you. We wish you the best as you find another institution that will be an excellent fit for your educational and personal goals.

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Johns Hopkins University


Date: December 14, 2014 at 3:01:30 PM EST
From: Johns Hopkins University <>
Subject: Embrace the YES!

Dear Samuel,

Welcome to the Class of 2019! We can’t wait for you to get to campus.

Until then, as one of the newest members of the family, we hope you’ll show your Blue Jay pride:

• You’re among the first with the right to use #JHU2019. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are waiting for you. (And so are we! We’ll be collecting your tweets, updates, and photos to share with the whole JHUniverse.)

• On your admissions decision site, you’ll find a link to the Hopkins Sports store and on-campus bookstore where you can purchase Hopkins gear, including special Class of 2019 items.

• Start to meet your fellow members of the Class of 2019 in the Facebook group, where only admitted students are members.

We’re excited to officially welcome you to the Hopkins community next fall. In the meantime, everything you need can be found online at

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Johns Hopkins University
Mason Hall / 3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218-2683


Reply-To: <>
From: “Johns Hopkins University Office of Undergraduate Admissions”
Subject: Apology for Email Error
Date: December 14, 2014 at 5:28:47 PM EST

Dear Samuel,

Earlier today, you may have received an email from us with the subject line: Embrace the YES!

Please note that this email was sent in error.

The decision posted on the decision site reflects the accurate result of your Early Decision application.

We regret this technical mistake and any confusion it may have caused.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions
The Johns Hopkins University