I called Merced and was told that email invitations for the “Count Me In” program went out late last week (~4/5/2019). The invitations go out to the “referral pool,” which is composed of the top 9% of California high school students who were not admitted to any of the UC campuses to which they applied. See the UC system’s Statewide path page for an explanation of how the top 9% is calculated and how the referral pool works. Check out the Count Me In FAQ’s for how the program works (there is no cost to accept the invitation, but all other regular fees apply: SIR deposit, housing deposit, orientation fee, etc.).
Accepting the invitation to the “Count Me In” program does NOT require you to commit to Merced (you can decide later whether to SIR). Accepting the invitation also does NOT affect your waitlist or appeal status at other UC campuses. If you have any inclination to attend Merced, accept the invitation now, add the campus to your (hopefully) plethora of backup options, and sort things out when the SIR deadline is closer (keep in mind that the UC SIR deposit is $250 and the practice of SIR’ing with whichever the next best option comes along through waitlist or appeal can get very expensive really fast).
If you are thinking about going to Merced and then transferring to another UC campus later, please consider that the transfer process from a California community college to a UC is streamlined and easier for you to follow. When I work with intercampus transfer students, I often have to spend hours looking through course catalogs to figure out which courses from one UC campus will satisfy the major prerequisite requirements at another UC campus. I also see students whose effort to transfer gets derailed by odd requirements that are tricky to satisfy (an example is the second half of the English requirement at UC Davis) and/or hidden/convoluted major prep requirements (an example is the foreign language requirement for the English major at UCLA). In all honesty, I do NOT recommend attempting intercampus transfer on your own.
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