Got Decision?

Remember that each UC campus makes admission decisions INDEPENDENTLY (this is the official stance of the UCs; there is some speculation about decision coordination and the UCs continue to deny that – I’m a bit skeptical but have no evidence to contradict the UCs).

In the past decade, I’ve personally heard of four students (three of them were my clients) who applied to five or six UCs and were only admitted to Berkeley. Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to wait for all of the decisions (and, more importantly, the financial aid offers) to come out before weighing your options (yes, that means waiting for the Berkeley decision to come out on March 28).

If you need help with the waitlist statement and/or appeal, or other options (transfer, gap year, etc.), I will post updated guidelines on my blog after Berkeley decisions are released. If you need help RIGHT NOW, find general resources on my YouTube Channel or more detailed resources on my Waitlist Statement Service page and Appeal Service page.

Emergency procedures for March: Please remain calm, listen to and follow instructions provided by the UCs. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with all backup college plans. Please use the stairs if there is a need to evacuate. If a student is in distress due to UC decisions, please notify Ms. Sun immediately.

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

March 17, 2024 at 9:26 pm

You are the BEST and I so appreciate your advice, knowledge and compassion for all the students applying to the UCs!!

Ms. Sunreply
March 17, 2024 at 9:29 pm
– In reply to: Jen

Glad I could help! πŸ™‚

March 17, 2024 at 9:40 pm

I will add a couple of my own anecdotes to reinforce Ms. Sun’s message above. (I’ve got many others that illustrate the same point, which is that UC admissions decisions are inscrutable, but these are most germane to what she’s said above.)

The son of a friend (homeschooled – not sure if that might have any relevance), applying for fall 2021 admission in computer science, also applied to several UCs (probably 5 or 6, as in the examples above) and was admitted only to UC Berkeley. They’d given up hope at that point: applying to a notoriously difficult major in which to gain admission and not a single positive response. Then, voila! Happy days.

A friend of my oldest son, applying for fall 2022 admission (might’ve also been computer science, though I’m not sure about that now), was waitlisted at UC Davis … after receiving early acceptance from UC Berkeley in February with the associated invitation to apply for Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship. Go figure.

So, as Ms. Sun says above, no luck to this point is not necessarily an indication of the one or two results to come. It may not go well, but it can. I am on son #2 this admissions cycle and I’ve given up on making sense of it.

Ms. Sunreply
March 17, 2024 at 9:46 pm
– In reply to: David

Thank you for sharing and good luck to your son! πŸ€žπŸ€πŸ€

March 18, 2024 at 11:03 am

Still rare cases, I donΒ΄t think well-qualified applicants got rejected or waitlisted by all UC except Berkeley. The possible reason is the applicant received bad grades for one semester in 10th or 11th grade, damaged UWGPA and capped UC GPA, but still had a very high fully weighted GPA.

Unfortunately, not all UCs consider fully weighted GPAs.

Ms. Sunreply
March 18, 2024 at 6:41 pm
– In reply to: mamaBear

I don’t think students should assume they would get into Berkeley if they weren’t admitted at other UCs. But I do want students to wait for all of the decisions to come out before they contemplate their next steps.

All UCs, except Merced and Riverside, and maybe Santa Barbara, are looking at fully weighted and unweighted GPA for admission evaluation. That’s actually why the published GPA range (capped) for most UCs are so low (~4.2). Just as an example, the published UCLA GPA range (capped) is 4.2-4.3 (source), but the fully weighted GPA at UCLA is closer to 4.6 (source).

March 20, 2024 at 5:50 pm
– In reply to: mamaBear

Of course they’re rare. The point is that it has happened and so can again.

I don’t understand the fixation on GPA, capped or uncapped, weighted or unweighted. It’s not hard – and, more importantly, doesn’t take that much more time – to look at a couple dozen grades and associated classes to get a more meaningful picture of high school academic achievement (setting aside issues of institutional grade inflation and cheating, the former with which schools are probably familiar and the latter of which they can only guess at).

Beyond the particular instance of Berkeley, what I can say from observing the results of two sons and many of their classmates is that UC admissions decisions are unpredictable beyond what I’d have expected beforehand and, in many cases, hard to understand and reconcile with each other.

Ms. Sunreply
March 20, 2024 at 10:36 pm
– In reply to: David

The concept of holistic review means nothing to most people because, based on my observation, majority of the students and parents perceive coursework, grades, activities, etc. as separate factors (thus the focus on GPA and the frequent questions about “should my child take AP XYZ, it’s the hardest class at that high school” and “should my child do XYZ activity”). It’s incredibly difficult for anyone who’s never read hundreds of applications to really understand how someone can “judge” an application holistically (how individual factors aggregate to present an overall picture of the student); it’s another form of “can’t see the forest for the trees.” I cannot teach anyone to view the individual factors as an aggregate (this requires a different way of thinking; also, from what I can tell, no one can think about their children objectively) so I just try to address the individual factors (in context of the aggregate), which most parents can grasp.

March 21, 2024 at 12:16 am
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

I really liked Sara Harberson’s book Soundbite (which I read based on book recommendations you’ve given elsewhere), which is all about “how individual factors aggregate to present an overall picture of the student.” To anyone reading these comments, that book is well worth your time, both parents and kids.

Also, I meant to add to my immediately previous post that I expect that admissions officers at schools don’t focus on GPA either, but, instead, consider the collective academic record as I (briefly) suggested. Still, it’s difficult for me to believe that the times I’ve heard/read that get spent on considering applications (sub-10 minutes and sometimes really sub) lend themselves to thoughtful consideration, especially vis-a-vis the rest of the applicant pool.

Ms. Sun
March 21, 2024 at 4:35 pm
– In reply to: David

I think people in the education consulting industry is starting to realize that they are speaking a different language than the parents, and I think books like Soundbite is a response to that (trying to convey how admission evaluation is done so that parents can adjust how they work with their own kids).

Grades and rigor of coursework are definitely important factors for the UCs because they heavily favor demonstrated capacity for academic success at the college level (I think a lot of parents mistake GPA for “demonstrated capacity for academic success”; that’s not really the case, students need to be able to describe their actions/efforts/commitment to persuade the UCs that they are dedicated to and capable of academic success, definitely not a job 17-year-olds can do on their own). Are kids with 4.2 fully weighted GPA disadvantaged compared to kids with 4.6 fully weighted GPA? Yes. Does that mean kids with 4.2 have no chance of getting into the UCs? Not necessarily (I have students with that and lower GPA get in). But agonizing over something like “that student has 4.654 and my child has 4.656” is meaningless because both kids are equally competitive but what their applications say may be very different (I once worked with a student on appeals to UCs who incriminated himself and his family – I honestly thought he was from a mafia family and a successor to the family business after reading his application; it turned out to be a huge misunderstanding but that’s also why you don’t let 17-year-olds discuss complex issues that could impact their future on their own – they WILL incriminate themselves in the worst possible way, guaranteed).

March 18, 2024 at 1:57 pm

Hi, Ms. Sun,

Love your blog. The information you posted has helped us a lot during the college application cycle.

My son applied all UCs except UC Merced. So far:

He is accepted by: UCLA, UCSD, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside

He is waiting for UC Santa Barbara (tomorrow, 03/19), and UC Berkeley (03/28).

For the UCs, my feeling is:
For the exceptionally good kid, only UCLA or UC Berkeley will admit the kid. Other UCs will bypass the student.
For the good but not exceptionally good kids, a lot UCs will take a look and admit the student.
My son is falling into this category.
He got regents scholarship from UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside. But no scholarships from UCLA and UCSD.

I also heard UCLA and UC Berkeley are communicating with each other. A student admitted into UCLA usually will be wait listed by UC Berkeley. or vice versa.
Unless the student is exceptional, UCLA and UC Berkeley try not fighting for the same student.

We will see what happens with my sons’ UC Berkeley decision.

Thanks for your great work! Love your blog.

Ms. Sunreply
March 18, 2024 at 6:44 pm
– In reply to: Yang

Thank you πŸ™‚ Good luck to your son! πŸ€žπŸ€πŸ€

March 28, 2024 at 6:01 pm

Hi Mrs Sun,

My son got into Berkeley but waitlisted at UCLA and UCSB. He prefers UCLA over Berkeley and maybe even UCSB over Berkeley. My question is- if he accepts Berkeley, do you think this lessens his chances of getting off a UCLA or UCSB waitlist? It’s my understanding the UC’s can see each others’ information even though they say they operate independently, and might UCLA and UCSB think “great, he’s committed to Berkeley so we can now let another waitlisted student have a chance at a UC”? Thank you so much for your time and thoughts on this.

Ms. Sunreply
March 28, 2024 at 11:14 pm
– In reply to: Mandy

Short answer is no. UCs want students to commit to a college that has already admitted them. When/if they start taking students from the waitlist, students will have three to five days to accept the offer (check junk/spam folder everyday!).

Questions or Comments?