An email was wrongly sent to more than 4,000 prospective students who had applied to Newcastle or Northumbria universities weeks before their A-level results were released and before their places had been confirmed.
The message, sent by Ucas to promote Fusion Student Housing, read: “You have been accepted at university and you will be studying at Newcastle next year – congratulations!”
Most students will not know where they will study until they receive their A-level results in mid-August.
Some students who had hoped their wait had come to an end – who were then told by Ucas that the email had been sent by mistake – described the error as “heart wrenching”.
Meanwhile, other students awaiting their A-level results, who had chosen one of the universities as a back-up, were worried as they believed they had missed the grades needed for their first choice.
Tom Winetroube, 17, from Bedfordshire, told The Times he thought the email meant he had failed to make it into Leeds University to study journalism – which was his first choice.
He said: “This caused me to feel a bit disappointed because being told that I’d been accepted to my second choice insinuated to me that I hadn’t got into my first choice.
“I think Ucas has caused even more unnecessary distress for students who are already on edge waiting for results that could make or break their plans for the next academic year and beyond.
“I am even more nervous for results day than I was previously was a result of this Ucas error.”
A Ucas spokesperson said: “About 4,100 students awaiting their exam results received an email from Ucas which incorrectly said they had been accepted to study in Newcastle.
“The affected students had applied to Newcastle University or Northumbria University and have not yet had their place confirmed.
“Our mistake was quickly spotted, and a follow-up email to apologise was sent that afternoon.
“All students can log into Track to see the latest information on their application.”
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