The Ivy Coach Daily

May 7, 2021

University of California Waitlist Statistics

Let’s take a look at the University of California waitlist admissions statistics (photo credit: Daniel Koenig).

Are you stuck in waitlist limbo at a University of California school? Maybe at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, San Diego, or the University of California, Santa Barbara? If so, well, you might be curious to learn if there are lots of other students in your same position. You might also be curious if the University of California schools historically go deep into their waitlists. Well, the University of California system is rather candid about its waitlist admissions statistics so let’s not keep you wondering any longer. We’ve got the answers for you. Oh yes we do!

In 2019, 13% of waitlisted students to UCLA earned admission. In 2020, UCLA’s waitlist admission rate shot up to 19%, consistent with the trend at many highly selective universities since these schools had to fill the seats of admits to the Class of 2024 who opted to take gap years due to the pandemic. At UCSD, in 2019, 22% of waitlisted candidates ultimately earned admission while the waitlist admission rate shot up to 27% in 2020. At UCSB, the waitlist admission rate in 2019 stood at 10% and shot up to an astounding 97% in 2020.

UC Berkeley’s admission rate off the waitlist isn’t as easily accessible, but 1,668 waitlisted candidates earned admission to UC Berkeley in 2020. And while 2020 was an unusual year for sure, the typical waitlist admission rates aren’t exactly in the single digits so we always wonder why so many students — and their parents — all but give up and cut bait once they’re placed in limbo. If a student is waitlisted, he or she absolutely still has a shot and, if they play their cards right, they’ll be able to give themselves the best shot possible.

As Teresa Watanabe reports for The Los Angeles Times in a piece entitled “Here’s what UC says about the chances of being plucked from massive waitlists,” “Unlike some private colleges, UC does not rank waitlisted students nor take their ability to pay into account when offering them admission. Officials say their selections are generally a continuation of the regular admission process, with consideration given to students’ original scores from application readers and whether their intended areas of study fill enrollment holes that year.”

And what did the UC schools leave off the list that can make all the difference for a waitlisted candidate? A Letter of Enthusiasm of course! You see, most highly selective colleges are never going to tell waitlisted candidates that they need to show their love to the institution. But of course they do. Every college wants to be loved so it’s vital that waitlisted candidates demonstrate their love to the school that placed them in limbo in a unique and compelling way.

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