The waiting game for undergraduate college acceptances – and rejections – will extend even longer this spring for fall placement at UC campuses.
The University of California announced in January that six of the UC campuses – including UC Davis – will utilize a waitlist when accepting and rejecting freshman applicants this spring.
A potential issue with the new decision is how it will affect students.
Davis Senior High School head counselor Carol Curinga said waitlists should not be used at UCs.
“Waitlists make it much harder for everyone,” Curinga said. “They leave students in limbo-land. That’s a hard place to be.”
Curinga said she is worried for the students who will be the first to experience the newly implemented waitlist system. High school seniors will be the UC system’s guinea pigs; there is a possibility that waitlists for high-enrolling campuses may not be feasible.
“I do think it will add stress,” she said. “Nobody knows how it’s going to work yet.”
At UC Davis, over 39,000 students applied last year and 46 percent – or about 18,000 students – were accepted. Curinga said waitlists are used to improve yield, or the number of students who are accepted who say they will attend.
In fall 2009, just over 4,500 students accepted admission to UC Davis’ freshman class, giving UCD a 23 percent yield, according to the UC Davis Admissions Office.
Students who have gone through the waitlist process said waiting can add stress. Madhavi Raman, a senior design major, was waitlisted at Rhode Island School of Design.
“It kind of sucked, but if I had been rejected it would have hit me harder,” Raman said. “I think that waitlisting [is] kind of nice. It’s an easy way of letting [students] down.”
Another waitlisted student, Shayna Lesovoy, a senior political science and sociology major, said, based on her experience, waitlists should not be used at UCs. After being waitlisted at two private schools her senior year of high school, she was not a fan of the list.
“I think waitlists are terrible,” Lesovoy said. “It totally messed with me.
I saw it as they wanted me, but not enough to make room for me.”
UC Office of the President Spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said the new UC waitlist is intended to give students a chance at their top-choice campuses, not add stress.
“Students experience enough anxiety with the admission process,” Vazquez said.
This year UC decided to use a waitlist to help with over-enrollment. Already, there are 15,000 students over-enrolled in the UC system.
“It’s an enrollment management tool,” Vazquez said.
UCLA and UC Merced will not use the new tool. UC Berkeley has yet to decide if they will start a waitlist.
Students submit intents to register by May 1 and Vazquez said the UC hopes to have campus waitlist decisions by May 17 and June 1 by the latest.
Admissions decisions have recently been sent and will be received within the next few weeks – this year there will be three options on letters: admitted, rejected or waitlisted. If UC-eligible, Vazquez said, students will still be placed somewhere within the system despite the waitlist system. This referral process will most likely place students at UC Merced, whether they applied to the campus or not.
Sean Nyhan, public policy and research coordinator at the National Association for College Admission Counseling said his organization looks at waitlists at universities nationwide.
NACAC’s annual Admissions Trends Survey has shown from 1996 through 2008 about one third of schools use waitlists. From waitlists, about 30 percent of students are accepted on average. At more selective schools, 13 percent of students get off the waitlist.
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at email@example.com.