Waitlist FAQ | Undergraduate Admissions (2024)

▸ What is the waitlist?

The waitlist is designed for UC Santa Barbara applicants who were not offered admission due to space limitations, but who are considered excellent candidates for admission, should space become available.

▸ I had good grades. Why wasn’t I admitted?

Admission to UCSB is very competitive, and spaces are limited. When a UC campus cannot admit all eligible applicants, as has been the case among many UC campuses in recent years (including UCSB), it uses standards that are more demanding than the minimum requirements to select students. Please also note that SAT and ACT exam scores, if submitted, were not a factor of consideration and will not be used should we admit students from the waitlist.

▸ Can I file an appeal even though I am on the waitlist?

Applicants on the waitlist are not eligible to appeal. In addition, applicants may not appeal to be placed on the waitlist. If you are eligible to appeal, the “Appeal” tab will appear at the top of your UCSB Applicant Portal during the appeal submission period. If at the conclusion of the waitlist process you are not offered admission, the option to appeal will open but keep in mind, very few students are admitted based on appeals.

▸ Do you use Letters of Continued Interest in the waitlist selection process?

No, we do not use Letters of Continued Interest to select students from the waitlist. To express interest in the waitlist, you must simply opt in to the waitlist by the deadline (April 15 for freshmen and May 15 for transfers).

▸ Is there any restriction about who can be on the waitlist?

Yes. The waitlist is by invitation only. Applicants invited to join the UCSB waitlist will see a message in their Applicant Portal.

▸ How do I accept the waitlist option?

You need to opt in or accept a spot on the UCSB waitlist. Here’s how to opt in:

  • Log into the Applicant Portal.
  • Click on “Accept or Decline Waitlist Offer.”
  • Select the “Accept” or “Decline” message and click “Submit" by the deadline listed below:
    • You must opt in by 11:59pm, PT on the deadline:
      • Freshman deadline: April 15, 2024
      • Transfer deadline: May 15, 2024

If you accept the offer, you will see a new message on your Applicant Portal confirming that you are on the waitlist. You will not receive any email confirmation. Remember: if you want to be on the waitlist, you MUST opt-in by 11:59pm, PT on April 15 (freshmen) or 11:59pm, PT on May 15 (transfers). The deadline will not be extended.

▸ Can I be on a waitlist for more than one UC campus?

Yes. You may be on more than one waitlist if the option is offered to you.

▸ What are my chances of getting admitted to UCSB from the waitlist?

That is difficult to predict. The number of students admitted from the waitlist varies greatly from year to year. Admission will depend on how many admitted students accept UCSB’s offer of admission. Applicants who have chosen to be on our waitlist may or may not be offered admission.

▸ Will I know my place on the waitlist?

No. We do not rank students on the waitlist as we consider all of these students to be academically strong candidates.

▸ If I’m admitted, will I also get the major or college I wanted?

As in the normal admission process, applicants on the waitlist are not guaranteed admission to a college or major. If students are admitted from the waitlist, they will see confirmation of their major in their Applicant Portal and letter of admission.Students who submit an SIR to UCSB may request achange of majorfor two weeks after they SIR.

▸ When and how will I find out if I get an offer of admission?

Admissions decisions will be posted in the UCSB Applicant Portal. The Office of Admissions will send an email indicating that your final admissions decision is posted in the Applicant Portal. Freshman applicants will be notified starting in mid-May and possibly into July. Transfer applicants will be notified in June and possibly into late-July.

▸ If I am admitted, how long will I have to accept the offer of admission?

You will have approximately one week. The deadline will be highlighted in your admission letter and posted on the Applicant Portal. The deadline date is fixed and no extensions will be granted.

  • Note: After you accept an offer of admission, please wait 24 hours from the time you submit your SIR to submit your Housing application.

▸ What do I do if I already accepted an offer at another campus?

If you sent in your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) to one campus and are offered admission to UCSB from our waitlist, you can still accept our offer of admission to UCSB. You will need to submit a SIR to UCSB and cancel the SIR you submitted to the other campus. The deposit to the first campus will not be refunded and cannot be transferred to UCSB.

Waitlist FAQ | Undergraduate Admissions (2024)


What are the chances of getting accepted after being waitlisted? ›

How likely is it to get accepted from the waitlist? Colleges admit about 20% of students who choose to remain on waitlists, according to a 2019 report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Keep in mind that these numbers will vary based on the college waitlisting you.

Is a waitlist basically a rejection? ›

The meaning of waitlisted is pretty simple: you haven't been offered acceptance, nor have you been rejected. You are currently being held on a waitlist and might eventually be accepted if a spot opens up. Schools use the waiting list to deal with the uncertainty of the admissions process.

How do colleges decide who gets off the waitlist? ›

If you rank higher, you'll have a greater chance of getting off the waitlist. But some colleges may neither rank waitlisted students nor accept them by priority. Individual colleges may take a more holistic approach. They may make their decision based on factors such as which majors they want represented.

Is a waitlist a soft rejection? ›

To be fair, not many people get off waitlists, but you can't count yourself out if you are waitlisted.

Do most people who get waitlisted get accepted? ›

An average of 10% of college applicants are placed on a waitlist. On average, 50% of waitlisted students decide to stay on a waitlist. Colleges eventually admit 20% of waitlisted students on average. Of students who were waitlisted at selective institutions, 7% were eventually admitted.

How can I increase my chances of getting off the waitlist? ›

What should you do if you're on a college waitlist?
  2. Look for other ways to show continued interest in the school. ...
  3. Make sure to accept your spot on the waitlist. ...
  4. Submit a deposit to another school. ...
  5. Only focus on things that are in your control. ...
  6. Be ready to decide if you do get accepted.
Feb 19, 2024

Is being waitlisted for a college good or bad? ›

Being waitlisted means you still have a chance if they don't see anyone they like better in the regular admissions cycle. It is better than being rejected, but don't count on getting in. This is when you need to expand your college options and consider other schools.

Why are so many students getting waitlisted? ›

It could be a combination of factors, such as the increased competition and the fact that colleges sometimes waitlist students who might not be a perfect fit for their expected class composition. Waitlists can help colleges achieve their desired class "balance" in terms of demographics, talents, and other attributes.

Do colleges waitlist overqualified applicants? ›

It is true that some colleges may waitlist overqualified students. This practice is known as yield protection, and its purpose is to ensure that the college maintains a high yield rate, which refers to the percentage of accepted students who actually attend.

How does a waitlist work for college admissions? ›

If your college application is waitlisted, it's basically the same as receiving a "maybe" from that school. If your application is deferred, you will not receive an early admission decision. If waitlisted, agree to enroll in a backup school, but consider writing a letter of continued interest.

Is getting off waitlist random? ›

The lower the number, the higher priority you have in getting off the waitlist when the college starts to offer admission to waitlisted students. The number isn't random, as it's based on a combination of factors such as your application strength, the college's priorities, and the number of spots available.

What to do after being accepted from waitlist? ›

What to Do After Being Wait-listed
  1. Accept a spot on the waitlist.
  2. Express interest again in the school.
  3. Submit a deposit to another university.
  4. Manage expectations in the admissions process.
  5. Continue to focus on high school academics.
  6. Be ready to make a decision if admitted.
May 11, 2022

Is it worth it to be waitlisted? ›

It depends on the student's individual situation and priorities. For some students, the chance to attend their top-choice school is worth the wait and uncertainty. For others, it may be more important to have a definite plan in place and move forward with the college they have already chosen.

How to increase chances of getting off a waitlist? ›

What should you do if you're on a college waitlist?
  2. Look for other ways to show continued interest in the school. ...
  3. Make sure to accept your spot on the waitlist. ...
  4. Submit a deposit to another school. ...
  5. Only focus on things that are in your control. ...
  6. Be ready to decide if you do get accepted.
Feb 19, 2024

Is waitlist worse than rejection? ›

Waitlist decisions can sometimes be harder on applicants than outright rejections. They provide the disappointment of a rejection but not the closure.


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