Heres why colleges create waitlists
What we know about college waitlists in Southern California
Never tell me the odds! (But what are the odds?)
Admission decisions are made by people, not an algorithm
Go somewhere else, then transfer
Parent wants waitlist transparency
or the vast majority of this years college applicants, the question of where theyll go to school in the fall has already been answered. But some applicants and their families are in limbo, waiting for and holding out hope that a campus they want to attend will say yes to them.
UCLA is right here, I see it right now from the window of my office, said Mohsen Kargahi, whose 12th grade daughter attends Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.
My daughter has been there many, many times, she has [an] emotional connection there, he said.
Kargahi is one of the parents who say the waitlist process is an emotional rollercoaster that needs more transparency.
Support for LAist comes from
A Staggering Finding: 1 In 10 Adults In LA County Struggle With Medical Debt
Is AC Required In Your Rental? Not Yet, But Some LA City Coucilmembers Want It To Be
LA Metro Caps Fares At $5 Per Day, $18 A Week
Kargahi reached out to LAist to ask if
UCLAs move to accept more in-state applicants
would bode well for his daughter. He also wants to know how long hell wait, how other UC campus waitlist decisions affect UCLAs decisions, and whether merit has anything to do with the waitlist process.
His type of questions, anticipation, and anxiety flood online platforms as parents inform each other whether their child has been accepted off a waitlist or not.
Heres why colleges create waitlists
Every spring, college admissions officials engage in a process that will lead to the filling of as many possible open seats for the fall semester. A percentage of the applicants a college admits will end up enrolling somewhere else, so the college has to admit more students than it has slots for to hit that target.
Waitlists give an admissions office a buffer to fill those seats.
I would ask that students remain patient as [waitlist] offers continue to be reviewed.
Andrew Wright, director of admissions at California State University, Long Beach
Depending on how many students accept the offer of admission and sign up for Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration, we will determine if additional offers need to be made based on space availability, Andrew Wright, director of admissions at California State University, Long Beach, said via email. The campus is one of the most in-demand universities among the CSU systems 23 schools.
He said the final admissions decisions are made by mid-June, give or take, depending on open seats.
I would ask that students remain patient as offers continue to be reviewed, Wright said.
Support for LAist comes from
Royce Hall at UCLA.
(Zack Simone via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
Admissions officials ask applicants to confirm they want to be on the waitlist to help ensure that those applicants are eager to accept an admission offer, which helps the university meet its enrollment targets.
That capacity can vary significantly from one year to the next, said Gary Clark, UCLAs executive director of undergraduate admissions and interim vice provost for enrollment management, via email. The number of waitlist admission offers in one year is not predictive of what may happen in subsequent years.
UCLA says it monitors enrollment deposits made by freshmen on May 1 and by transfer students on June 1 to determine whether we have any additional capacity to admit more students.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is another CSU campus in high demand. A spokesperson said the university would notify students no later than July 15.
But not all CSUs use waitlists.
The number of waitlist admission offers in one year is not predictive of what may happen in subsequent years.
Gary Clark, executive director of undergraduate admissions, UCLA
Cal State Northridge received more than 48,000 applications for the fall 2022 semester. Thats less than half the total for the systems campuses in San Diego and Long Beach. CSUN does not use waitlists for our domestic and international undergraduate admissions process, according to CSUN spokesperson Carmen Chandler, but the university’s music department does use waitlists.
What we know about college waitlists in Southern California
Waitlist data is not widely shared.
The CSU and UC campuses in Southern California that LAist contacted either did not share information about how many students were put on waitlists last year or the university official we needed was out of office.
Shirleen Achieng graduated from UC Irvine in 2020.
(Courtesy of Shirleen Achieng)
UC Irvine did speak broadly about how waitlist selection works.
Students offered the waitlist have shown that they are very likely to be successful in their applied to major if they are admitted, but who fall just outside of our initial selection for that major, Dale Leaman, the executive director of UCIs office of undergraduate admissions, said by email.
These are very strong applicants, but because of capacity limits we cannot admit all of them. If there is capacity in their specific major after the initial set of acceptances, then we can offer them admission, he said.
The application and admission data portals for the UC and CSU systems do not include yearly waitlist sizes and how many students were admitted from those waitlists. UCLAs waitlist info is publicly available amid other data in something called the
Common Data Set.
Never tell me the odds! (But what are the odds?)
From the information that is out there, one can deduce that an applicants chances of being accepted off the waitlist at the most selective universities are less than slim.
UCLA received more than 149,000 freshman applications for fall 2022. Thats the most of any of the systems nine undergraduate campuses. According to numbers provided by the university:
16,979 applicants were offered the choice of being on the waitlist
11,169 applicants agreed to be waitlisted
UCLA admitted 367 applicants from that waitlist
Thats just over a 3% chance of getting admitted if youre on the waitlist, and the chances were lower the previous year. Those are not good odds if youre dead set on going to UCLA, even when you do account for more spots going to California students.
And the anxiety of the unknown can extend well into the summer.
Our goal each year is to release the freshman waitlist as early as we can, preferably by early July, said UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vasquez via email.
But the odds are much better at some CSU campuses.
For the fall 2022 semester, Cal State Long Beach enrolled over 9,300 new undergraduate students. The campus places about 10% of the enrollment goal on a waitlist, which means that nearly 1,000 students were put on the waitlist. CSULB said they “typically admit about 30% of the enrollment goal from our waitlist each year,” said Andrew Wright, CSULBs director of admissions,