This episode of the UCI Podcast will dive into undergraduate admissions, discussing what the process is once offers of admissions go out and how a waitlist works. Joining Sheri Ledbetter is Dale Leaman, the executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Leaman brings an extensive background to higher education with 27 total years with the University of California and the last 10 with UCI. He’s been the executive director of undergraduate admissions for the past four years.
This episode of the UCI Podcast was recorded in the podcast studio in the ANTrepreneur Center. Music for this episode of the UCI Podcast, titled “Building Blocks,” provided by Nate Blaze via the Audio Library in YouTube Studio.
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From the University of California, Irvine and coming to you from the ANTrepreneur Podcast Center, this is the UCI Podcast. I’m Sheri Ledbetter. Thank you for joining me. Joining us on the UCI Podcast is a return guest, Dale Leaman, the executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Dale brings an extensive background to higher education with 27 total years with the University of California and the last 10 with UC Irvine. Welcome, Dale.
Hi, Sheri. Thanks. Another downpour, another podcast, right?
Right? It’s always raining when we’re here. Dale and I spoke previously on the UCI Podcast on the admissions process around the time that the applications data was released by the University of California, typically around late January, early February each year. This year’s data revealed a third consecutive record-breaking year for UCI in numbers of applications received at 143,000. In that episode, we spoke about the admissions process at a high level, covering the application itself. What happens on UCI’s end once applications have been received, and what the application readers look for when reading the personal insight question responses from applicants. In this episode, we’re going to dive into the applications process a little further with first year admissions decisions coming out this month – we’re in March. We’ll take a look at the next steps for admitted students. We’ll talk about the wait list process and what is next in the admission cycle. So, for those students who received offers of admissions, what is the next step or steps for them on their journey to becoming an Anteater?
The first thing, of course, is to submit your statement of intent to register, or your SIR as we call it. That lets us know that you intend to register with us and sort of sets up all the processes that follow, whether it’s housing applications or fee deposits or all those kinds of things or connections to financial aid. But you have to submit to us an SIR for all of those processes to start.
Is there a deadline for that?
Yeah, May 1 is the deadline for SIR – for first year, SIR.
For first years.
I want everyone to be sure to request your official documents, your transcripts, and your exam scores early and soon, because there is a deadline for that. And verification of all those documents is actually really critical to us. So be sure you’re following up and getting your transcripts from your schools and any exam scores you have, like AP exams, to us as soon as you can. The deadline for that is July 1.
Okay. Wow. Very important. Good.
Yeah, having those exam scores and having those classes and all your transcripts, not only does it verify that what you said on the application was true – which is important – but it also helps your departmental advisors put you in the right courses once you get here.
Okay. So those are the key next steps for the first years who have received an offer of admission. So, some applicants are offered a spot on the wait list. What does that mean for them and how does the wait list work?
Sure. So, wait list is always kind of confusing for folks. These are students who we are confident would be successful here at UCI, but we simply don’t have capacity for all of the fantastic remarkable students who apply to us. So the first thing to do if you’re offered on the wait list and you still have a desire to attend UCI is to submit your statement of intent to participate or your SIP – everything’s an acronym with us. We don’t need a letter of continued interest, and in fact, when we receive those, they don’t really get considered. So, the statement of intent to participate is the most important part of your process there. Also, if you’ve got an official offer from another university, we would encourage you to accept an offer to make sure that you have a spot somewhere in the fall.
So, let’s say you’ve got an offer from any other university, but you would really like to attend UCI and you’re on the UCI wait list, it’s perfectly okay to accept the offer from another university and be on our wait list at the same time. Eventually you’ll have to make a choice if you’re offered two spots, but universities are used to working with that also. On the wait list, I think there’s some confusion. There’s no numbered ranking. Sometimes we get asked: “What’s my number on the wait list?” We don’t rank on the wait list, just like we don’t rank our admits. So there’s no numeric, your number 1700 or something like that.
That’s good to know.
And we don’t know how many folks we might admit off the wait list. We won’t know that really until we see how many SIR are coming in. So, we make those wait list offers later in the cycle, later in April and maybe even after May when we know how many have accepted our offers. And usually wait list offers are for very specific majors that maybe have additional capacity. So, there’s always that kind of, it’s literally waiting. I mean, you have to wait until we see what everyone else is doing. We get some very generous offers from folks sometimes that say, “I’m going to go somewhere else I was admitted, can my friend or my colleague or my brother have my spot off the wait list?” No. The answer to that is no.
That’s exactly right.
And I think one thing I want to mention is that if you’re on the wait list, if you’re offered the wait list, rather you can accept the wait list offer or you can appeal – file an appeal for selection, but we don’t allow students to do both. So, you have to decide whether you’re going to be on the wait list or file an appeal to selection.
Can we go back to how you first answered this question? You talked about the SIP and also a letter. What are are the difference between those two things?
It’s very common at private universities and other universities around the country to request or to receive something called a letter of continued interest, which is essentially I’m telling the university that, yes, I really, really, really want to come here even though I’ve already been denied or I’ve been wait listed. So, we don’t ask for that on the wait list. We accept that your statement of intent to participate is essentially your statement of continued interest.
Okay. Thank you for explaining that a little bit further. And then we start, as you said, start addressing the wait list a little bit sooner around the time when SIRs are, are due.
Right. We monitor the number of SIRs, especially for certain majors with limited capacity or capped capacity, and we try to make sure that we’re accommodating as many students as we can in those majors. So, we don’t like to leave like open spaces, essentially. So that’s what we’re trying to do, wait until all of the SIR are in.
Gotcha. It’s a complicated, it can be a complicated process or, or a nuanced process. So, I want to ask, so now that the first year offers have gone out, literally, and as we record this, this past weekend, what is next for your office? For the office of admissions?
It even busier for us, actually. So we now have, I don’t know, I just looked at this schedule today and I think it’s hundreds of campus tours and new anteater receptions scheduled throughout California, across the country, around the world, virtual and in person. I know that I start traveling this week for the receptions and our outreach staff is traveling already this week for receptions. So, it’s gets really, really busy.
So you go out and meet our new admits.
So we go out and, and talk to parents, students and families wherever they are and, you know, talk to them about what a great place this is. We’re also preparing for our transfer admissions decisions to go out in early April. And I think I want to mention transfers because transfers are nearly one third of our entering cohort each year. It’s a really important population for us, and we take a lot of great care to handle the transfer applicant load, and it’s a real focus in California right now, and we take it very seriously.
They’ll get their information when, early April?
Early April. I’m not sure of the exact date, actually, I’m sure of the exact date, but I always want to leave a little wiggle room and know for what we do here. And then I really do want to mention Celebrate UCI April 22nd – Earth Day – and I hope it’s better weather than today. That’s our campus open house, and we’ll have events for all admitted students and families that want to come by and check out the campus, and it’s a really fun day.
That sounds great. Oh, good. Is there anything that I maybe didn’t bring up that you’d like to add?
Sure. There’s one thing that I always like to say when we talk about these things, and that is, if you are not offered an admissions decision, it’s really important that you not let a college decision like that define you as a human being – define you as a person. You’re going to be successful. Your success is based upon your hard work and your experience and all of those things that you’ve already put in. Please, please don’t let the decision that my office or another university office makes have a really negative impact on you. I know that it’s disappointing. I know people have their heart set on going someplace specific, but it really cannot define you.
Yeah. Thank you for sharing that sentiment. I think that’s so important right around this time, because there’s a lot of students on social media saying, “Yay, I got in, I got in.” And there’s a whole bunch of students out there watching that, you know, who didn’t. So, it’s important for them to know that there’s more than one path.
Thank you for sharing that.
We know that there are thousands of fantastic students that we just simply don’t have capacity for.
Right. Yeah. Well, Dale, thank you so much for joining us to provide another insight into admissions. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you again today.
You can learn more about the Office of Undergraduate admissions at admissions.uci.edu. I’m imagining also the Celebrate UCI information will be there for those who received offers of admission.
Okay. For the latest news be sure to check out at @UCIrvineNews on Twitter or online at news.uci.edu. The UCI podcast is a production of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs at the University of California, Irvine. I’m Sheri Ledbetter. Thank you for listening.