Friday, March 18, 2011

Charlene Liebau Gives Advice For Wait List Applicants On How To ‘Opt In’

By Charlene Liebau|March 18, 2011|1:30 p.m.
College Admissions Editor

In this column two weeks ago I discussed the types of responses colleges are sending out to applicants: admit, deny, and wait list. In a recent message to college counselors the University of California has sent out information about its use of the wait list which I wish to share with you.

We are all aware of the budget woes facing the State of California and its impact on public education, including higher education and the University of California. At present, the university system enrolls more than 11,570 students for whom it receives no state funding. In order to maintain standards of excellence, the goal now is to manage the enrollment at each of the nine undergraduate campuses. In light of the number of students enrolled who are not being funded makes current and future admission decisions more critical.

In order to more effectively manage the number of students enrolling in the University of California, a wait list is being employed at all campuses except UCLA and Merced.

If you (or your student) receive a letter placing you on a wait list the following may prove to be helpful information:
·        Students may receive a wait list decision from more than one campus
·        If offered a place on a wait list, the student must “opt in” in order to qualify for further admission consideration. 
·        If on a wait list and opted in, freshman applicants will be notified of their status (admitted or not) no later than June 1.
·        If a student decides to “opt in” on the wait list at a UC campus, or at any other college (public or private), it is important to recognize that decisions on the wait list may not be made until June–well after the May 1 “student decision date.” In this case, if the student later accepts an offer of admission from a wait listed college, they will forfeit their deposit at the first campus.
·        UC campuses will consider appeals for admission. This, however, requires the student to present compelling new admission information–new since filing the original application. 

Last fall all campuses except UCLA and Merced went to the wait list in making final admission decisions. Of the other campuses UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara used the wait list extensively.

The lesson here is: if you receive a wait list decision from a UC campus and wish to be considered again for admission–follow the directions to “opt in.” Also, May 1 is the date by which you must secure a place in a freshman class and commit to one of the colleges to which you have been admitted. Unfortunately, being on the wait list is not a promise of eventual admission–it does mean you may receive further consideration–space permitting. And, it is the question of “available space” that brings us back to the need to manage enrollments given California’s budgetary constraints.

Charlene Liebau is the former director of admissions for CalTech and Occidental College. She is also a finalist judge of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

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