updated 2/22/2006 10:52:29 AM ET 2006-02-22T15:52:29

Thousands of applicants to the University of California’s prestigious law school were accidentally invited to a party for students who had already been admitted, the admissions director said Tuesday.

Edward Tom, Boalt Hall School of Law’s admissions director, said he was training a new staff member when he accidentally sent an e-mail Friday inviting at least half of the school’s roughly 7,000 applicants to an alumni-sponsored reception.

“I went into shock for a moment,” Tom said.

The e-mail was intended for some 500 students who gained early admission and likely would have gone out to the entire applicant pool were it not for a mail server failure.

The phones started ringing within minutes, and the office was deluged with e-mails from confused applicants who never received a formal acceptance letter and were not yet accepted.

The school plans to notify applicants by early March whether they were accepted, and Tom said he will let other staff members handle mass e-mails in the future, including notices for the reception, which is still planned April 6.

“I’m not going to resend anything,” he said. “I’m going to step back and take a deep breath and have my experts handle this now.”

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