As if applying to college wasn't already stressful enough, now seven of the 10 University of California schools said they'll form waiting lists for potential freshmen.
UC Merced and UCLA are exceptions. UC Berkeley is still looking into whether it will adopt a wait list.
This is the first time the UC system will use the process because of budget-related enrollment cuts.
Next fall, the UC system will slash freshman enrollment by 1,500, and it will accept 500 community college transfer students.
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The system has 15,000 unfunded students attending its schools, said Ricardo Vazquez, a spokesman for the UC Office of the President. The waiting list is a management tool so that no seat goes empty.
High school students should start getting their UC school acceptance letters in late February and March, said Laureen Cardoza, the Merced Union High School District college coordinator. Students will find out then if they've been wait-listed.
May 1 is the deadline for students to submit their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) to schools, along with a $100 nonrefundable fee, Vazquez said.
If students were wait-listed for their top-choice school, Vasquez said they should then submit the SIR to the school they were accepted to, then wait till late May or June to find out if they were accepted to their first choice.
Families classified as low income can apply for a fee waiver for the SIR, Vazquez said.
Cardoza said she anticipates that the wait list may make it harder for high school students to plan for college.
"Everything will be later, like housing, so I think it will make things confusing for them," Cardoza said.
Hope for a seamless UC admission lies in Merced's own backyard.
If a student who is UC-eligible and is wait-listed for all the UC schools he applied to, the student will be offered acceptance to UC Merced, according to Vazquez.
Acceptance offers from a student's wait-listed school will be sent by June 1, according to UC officials.
The California State University (CSU) system also recommended that its schools implement a wait list, said Clara Potes-Fellow, a spokeswoman for the CSU system. Not all schools will put students on waiting lists.
CSU schools were forced to downsize by 40,000 students, Potes-Fellow said. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has also proposed restoring $305 million in funding to California's university system.
Even with the extra funding, there's a disconnect between the state budget getting signed and the college admission timeline. So, to be safe, the CSU system adopted a waiting list.
Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org