WASHINGTON, D.C. — Johns Hopkins University issued an apology Wednesday after mistakenly sending hundreds of rejected applicants email messages welcoming them to the school.

Because of human error, a congratulatory follow-up email message intended for accepted students was unintentionally sent to 294 students who had not been accepted, Dennis O’Shea, a spokesman for the Baltimore, Maryland-based university said.

The emails urged students to follow their graduating class of 2019 on Twitter, buy school gear at the campus store and meet fellow students on a class Facebook page.

“We sincerely apologize to the students affected and to their families,” O’Shea said in a statement. “This was an unacceptable error and we are working to ensure that future communications are accurate and correctly distributed.”

The school sent an apology to the rejected applicants who received the email and reconfirmed they had not been accepted.

The college application process is a stressful time for high school seniors, many of whom who work for months on applications and wait anxiously for acceptance and rejection letters.

Hopkins, with 4,700 undergrads, is one of the most prestigious schools in the country, admitting only 20 percent of applicants.

Students who apply for early admission may improve the chances of getting into their preferred school.

Of the 1,865 students who applied for early acceptance at Johns Hopkins, 539 or 29 percent were accepted. Of the 1,326 who were not accepted, 294 were mistakenly sent the congratulatory email messages.

Nine of those students were deferred and will be eligible for the regular application process.