What are my UC Waitlist chances?


What if I am offered a UC waitlist spot?

Over the last few years UC waitlist offers have increased to help the UC better control the final yield of admitted students, and prevent over-enrollment. Counselors received notification on March 13, 2016 that this year ALL UC campuses will use a waitlist for freshmen, the only exception being UC Merced.

Applicants are notified, at decision time, that they are being offered the chance to be added to a UC waitlist. If you are offered a spot on the waitlist you have until April 15th to accept the spot. The UC waitlist is NOT ranked by the speed with which you respond, so respond thoughtfully and carefully.

Some UCs offer the opportunity to add a 7000 character waitlist statement and letter of recommendation. Be sure to include your senior grades, fall as well as what’s in progress. Take this opportunity to review your application thoughtfully to see if there is anything you may have not included or explained fully, that will be to your benefit. If you have all A’s in your second semester you can mention that, even though the classes are still in progress.

University of California Waitlist FAQ

  • You cannot request to be placed on a UC waitlist.
  • UC Waitlist candidates are preselected prior to releasing decisions.
  • The UC waitlist “order” is NOT determined by how quickly you respond.
  • You cannot “Appeal” a waitlist offer (see Appeal page)
  • You cannot “Appeal” to be placed on a waitlist (see Appeal page)
  • You may accept offers to be on more than one waitlist.
  • Some campuses allow for a waitlist statement to be submitted.
  • If they give you 7000 characters, and it’s your 1st choice school, please use them.
  • Some campuses allow you to include a letter of recommendation.
  • Every year is different.
  • Some campuses will pull students from the waitlist and offer them admission.
  • Some campuses won’t pull ANY students from the waitlist to offer them admission
  • Do not assume you will get off a UC waitlist; proceed with a back-up plan.
  • SIR to a school that offered admission even if you remain on a UC waitlist elsewhere.
  • Waitlist motion occurs after May 1st when the UC’s tally their SIR yields.
  • Waitlist ends by June 1st; all students are ideally notified by June 1st at the latest.
The UCLA Waitlist
UCLA waitlist offer

How can I increase my chances?

If a campus pulls students from their waitlist, your chance will improve if you:

  • Write an amazing waitlist statement. If you are given 7000 characters, use them all and use them well. Do NOT crank this out. I suggest printing out your UC application, and review it carefully to see if there was anything missing about you. This is another opportunity to make an impression.
  • Your grades count.  If you can report great grades for Fall and Spring, that helps!
  • If you don’t have your Spring grades yet, but you know they are great, include that information.

i.e. If you currently have a 106% in AP Calc BC then go ahead and include that information.
Don’t leave this section blank if your grades “in progress” are excellent.

  • If you are permitted a letter of recommendation be sure to get a great one.

Recent years I had the opportunity to read and review freshmen applications for the UCLA Alumni Scholarship. How much time, thought and effort students put into completing their application and essay was evident. Effort was assigned a numerical score and carried substantial weight.  So take the time to show you care.

Should I SIR even though I am on a waitlist?

Yes, you should SIR to a campus you were accepted to even though you are hoping to be offered admission from a campus you are waitlisted at. If you are offered admission to a campus you are waitlisted at you can still attend and cancel your SIR. You will lose your deposit so please keep that in mind. Most UC deposits are small, less than $200. Some private schools are much higher.

Why do they even have a UC waitlist?

With the college application and admissions process growing more complicated each year and the increasing number of applications received by the UC, admissions yield has become more difficult to predict with absolute certainty. The UC waitlist is an effective way for the schools to have more control over enrollment numbers and reduce fears and the problems that arise from possible over enrollment such as housing shortages and further impacted courses.

UCLA waitlist …more info from UCLA