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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alternate/Wait List

We closed the Alternate List today (also known as the Wait List). I must admit, this is one of the hardest parts of this job. There will always be one person who is #1 on the wait list when the list eventually closes -- and it's usually the case that the individual held out hope that they'd get a last minute call inviting them to be a part of the incoming class.

We keep the wait list active until New Student Orientation begins. If an admitted student doesn't show up for the required Orientation, we contact the next person on the list. It doesn't happen often but there have been instances in the past where an Alternate was contacted the day before classes started.

As many of you know, UCSF does have a wait list that is developed during the final Admissions process in March. It always seems to generate lots of questions. Some of which are listed below:

How do spaces in the entering class become available?
Admitted applicants decline, usually for personal reasons; or, we withdraw the offer for not fulfilling all of the requirements for admission. For example: financial issues, personal issues, or medical issues sometimes prevent an applicant from accepting an offer. Every year some applicants are also administratively canceled. This could be for failing a prerequisite, not completing all the prerequisites, or not submitting documents or other verification materials required by us.

Is the list ranked? How/when are wait-listers notified?
The list is indeed ranked. We contact all alternates (by letter/email) on a regular basis to let them know their exact position on the list. We contact the next person on the list as soon as a place opens up in the entering class.

What are the chances of being admitted from the wait list?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how many accepted applicants will decline their admission offer or be canceled each year.

How soon will wait-listed applicants know?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when accepted applicants will decline our offer or be canceled. The waiting list remains open until the first day of Orientation.

How many alternates are accepted each year?
Since the reasons for declining an admission offer or for being canceled are often related to personal or unexpected situations, it is impossible to predict the number of alternates that will be offered admission in any given year. In the past, we have offered acceptance to as few as 3 and as many as 48 people on the waiting list.

Occasionally, we receive correspondence from wait-listed applicants in an attempt to move up on the wait list. Unfortunately, the only way to move up on the wait list is if another person (ranked higher) is admitted or decides to remove their name from the list. It's the fairest way to administer a wait list! And we always let wait-listed applicants know EXACTLY where they stand.

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