For the first time ever, the University of California and California State University systems are putting prospective students on wait lists, distancing some students and encouraging others to opt for schools who choose not to use the wait-list system, including USC.
Wait lists have now become the new standard for UCs and CSUs because of state budget cuts. Wait lists allow UC and CSU campuses to modify the admission process so they reach their enrollment goals accurately and avoid over-enrolling.
“This gives them the opportunity to take additional students if it turns out they have a little bit of space at the end of the [admissions] process,” Susan Wilbur, UC’s director of undergraduate admissions, said in a press release.
The UCs received a record amount of applications this year: 134,029. The same is true for CSU; more than 609,000 students applied, setting an all-time record.
Several UC campuses have put a few hundred students on wait lists, while others have wait-listed several thousand. The Merced and Los Angeles campuses are the only two that will not be using wait lists.
Additionally, approximately 8,000 applicants statewide have been wait-listed at CSU, spokeswoman Claudia Keith said in a press conference.
Experts say students placed on the wait list should be prepared to attend other schools. Students can easily accept admission to another school, and if taken off the wait list, can revoke their agreement.
A controversial issue for prospective students, many educational experts and high school counselors argue that this wait list system will only frustrate students and send them to other California or even out-of-state schools, further decreasing in-state profits. This leads students toward schools that do not use wait lists, including USC.
“Students in Southern California dream about joining the UC system, but wait lists just degrade them and their self-esteem, making them aim for other schools outside of it,” said Andrew Daneshgar, a junior at The Buckley School in Los Angeles who is currently looking into colleges for the fall 2011 semester.
Instead of wait lists, USC has always opted to admit a small group of students for the spring semester to balance out the number of incoming students for the new freshman class.
“We don’t like the idea of saying, ‘It’s maybe, but maybe not,’” said Katharine Harrington, USC’s dean of admission and financial aid, in a press release. “We much prefer to say, ‘We want you to come, but in the spring.’”