Even Top Students Being Waitlisted At UC Schools

DAVIS, Calif. (CBS13) — Many high school seniors are still waiting to find out if they have been accepted into their favorite college campuses thanks to severe budget cuts that have forced public universities to increase the size of their waitlists.

Even top students with excellent grades and a strong extracurricular record are finding themselves shut out when trying to apply to University of California campuses.

Emilie Yonan was placed on the UC Davis waitlist even though she has a 4.09 GPA, a 1920 SAT score and leadership roles on her school’s golf and lacrosse team.

“I was going through that in my head. I worked my hardest, I took my SATs 4 times, took my AP (advanced placement) classes, everything I was supposed to do,” Emilie said, “but I guess it wasn’t good enough.”

College admissions counselor Bill Downing said Emilie would have soared into UC Davis just three years ago.

With budget cuts squeezing the university’s resources, it now usually takes a 4.1 GPA and a 2100 SAT score to become a Davis Aggie, Downing said.

“I think Emilie is a great example of what’s happening here in California. Here’s a fantastic kid, fantastic student, did really well on her grades, wrote great essays,” Downing said.

Last year, the UC system waitlisted 10 percent of their applicants. Downing said he believes the number will grow to its highest ever, around 15 percent.

With more cuts expected this coming fiscal year, public universities are limiting enrollment and accepting more out of state and international students to help increase their budgets.

Emilie said she would give California lawmakers an “F” for handling the state’s budget and risking her dream of attending her father’s alma mater.

“It definitely is a hard realization to come to when you think you’re going in, and you should get into these schools, but you don’t,” she said. If UC Davis turns her down, she said she will most likely attend the University of Michigan.

Downing said waitlisted students should let their college know they still want to attend, send their most current grades and visit the school to meet teachers and admissions representatives.

  • Tony Rome

    this is a dam shame. but we can help out fighting the libya war at the drop of dime.

    • Billy

      That’s because the military is ALOT more important than making sure everyone gets to go to college right out of high school..

      If they’re that desperate to get into college they will do the following.

      A). Get a 4.1 like it said in the article.
      B). Join the military and go to West Point or the Air Force Academy etc.,
      C). Work, save money, pay for a private education.

      That’s 3 more choices than alot of other countries have where mandatory conscription is the law, and im sure noone would vote to give up military spending for education. No military = no education.

      • Adam

        Alot is a town in India, did you mean a lot?

      • Bob

        actually no, maybe you should try actually getting an education and learning what you’re talking about.
        it is A LOT more important to make sure every American child gets a college education than to make sure our military is bloated with funds to invade other countries.

        check ANY economic study and they will indicate increasing the education level of the population is THE KEY to long term national prosperity.
        i would point out in contrast to your ignorance, there has never been a military-industrial economy that spurred long-term growth. it is economically a short term growth strategy.

        your ignorance is also apparent in your lack of knowledge of what people will agree on, seeing as EVEN AMONGST HARD LINE GOP CONSERVATIVES there are increasing calls for the decreasing of military spending.
        in fact its a major platform point for the tea party.

    • Shy

      The UC budget cuts are from the state government, Libya is funded by the federal government.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah but it is true that the U.C.s and almost all public schools DO get financial aid FROM the federal government. Even middle schools, and highschools get financial assistance from the Feds.

        But like I said before, military is alot more necessary than making sure EVERYONE gets to go to the college that they want.

        I mean I understand that these students try hard and WANT to go to the UC of their choice, but there’s really no need to whine if they have to go to UCSF or the University of Michigan instead for that matter.

        It’s not like it’s worth cutting military spending and risk our entire defense department to make sure everyone gets to go to college where they want.

        Afterall I wanted to go to Harvard Medical SchoolB, and ironically I ended up settling for UC Davis (although I did serve in the Army), and I am not whining about it.

    • J

      In response to “Top Students waitlisted or declined into UC Schools”. We have just experienced this exact situation with our daughter. High SAT’s, Senior Class President, Full IB Diploma student, Varsity Volleyball and works part time. A kid that has kept her nose clean and to the grind stone for four years. Very difficult life lesson to experience at 18 years of age. LIfe is not always fair and sometimes hard work isnt’ enough. They are taking more out of state studens and international students because the schools get more money. Doesn’t make us happy with our home state of California. We should have changed our last name and declared other nationality on her applications!

      • PJM

        What we found out from peers (our daughter was wait listed at UC Davis with similar credentials as Emilie while several others in her class, that scored 300 to 400 pts less on the SAT,(we are talking 1500 to 1600) with lower GPAs (3.8 or so), lower class standings (top 15%), and no extracurricular activities were actually accepted at Davis. I really just can’t figure it out at all. If it was straight up competitive, I could live with that and accept being out competed. But it doesn’t appear to be the case from what we have experienced or are now reading here.

  • Anonymouse

    Military > School.
    Maybe if some of these kids spend a few years in the military not only will they get something to add to their application, but they won’t whine so much about being away from home to go to school…
    U.C. Davis is not the best school in ANY rankings or subject in the country. If you want medicine apply to Johns Hopin. If you want engineering apply to MIT. U.C. Davis isn’t even a high class U.C. compared to UCLA or U.C. Berkeley.
    Kids just want these schools because they’re easy UCs to get into and they’re close to home.
    So again, join the military like I did and after spending 2 tours in Iraq maybe you won’t care so much about being close to home for school.

    • Bob

      and how much have you contributed to the country anon.
      probably already less than this girl has.

      and your knowledge of university rankings is quite poor.
      UCD may not be best but by that criteria there’d be a grand total of 1 school per subject that’s apparently worth anything. the argument of a fool.
      so try not sharing any of your “wisdom”.
      it doesn’t help anything and it doesn’t make you sound smart.

  • Michael Pereira Mohr

    Davis is definately a hard school to get into, or stay in due to the serious competition in many of the majors. Most undgrad students at the UC schools have the goal of going on to get a masters degree or higher. These are definately tough economic times, but as these bright students know all to well, based on their high academic and extracurricular performance, giving up is not an alternative. There are plenty of other great universities where these bright future leaders can get a start on their university education. It’s just another challenge to these bright kids, more of a minor detour.

  • whywhywhy

    I don’t drive much, and thus don’t care about Oil, and thus really don’t give a hoot what happens in the middle east or in Israel. I do, however, care about education. Why is the Federal Government spending my tax money in wars in the middle east, forcing me to subsidize people who drive a lot, while simultaneously cutting the education Budget?

    Also, I don’t care if informed adults smoke Marijuana or do whatever drugs they want. Why are my tax dollars being spent on drug enforcement?

    Why isn’t my money being spent on education, which I really DO care about? Why are the republicans focusing on cutting education out of both state and federal budgets? Who are they working for? DON’T TREAD ON ME!

  • Cuckoo

    30 years ago Junior College transfer students could get into UC Davis with a 2.00 GPA and no SAT test and tuition was $900 A YEAR!

    • Blake

      And how much was the minimum wage back then? Factor in inflation and find out the real price based on percentage of income.

      I mean if we just go by dollars I could say in 1821 colleges were even LESS than 900 dollars a year and there was NO SAT…so obviously using $ per year doesnt work unless inflation is factored.

  • billy hilll

    This state is in freefall, and leading the plunge is our educational system. When we decide to start investing in education, rather than social services and corrections, we will once again regain our economic and cultural preeminence in the world.

  • Capt America

    For those that suggest Davis is not a great school obviously are not in touch with reality. The university has several top programs in the state including medical and agricultural. The UC system was originally designed for this student. The fact that she will leave the state and we get some random foreign kid or out of state kid just to get more money is ridiculous. To suggest going into the military is again out of touch with reality. The military now has the option to be selective in recruiting. My beloved corp now requires high school diplomas not GEDs and has raised the bar on high school gpa requirements. Our best and brightest are leaving the state. Sad.

    • Anonymous

      Yes the military is selective now, I was a medic in the army, AND I wasn’t saying that UC Davis isn’t a good school, I was saying that there are alot of other good schools, and if you can’t afford UCD, try USF, UC Irvine and the other UCs, because someone good enough to get into UC Davis should be smart enough to have a backup plan.

      UCs are all priced about the same for tuition, and if they cant afford it, there’s usually the financial aid and student scholarship programs. If they dont qualify for that than they can afford to pay full price to go to these schools.

      Back to the selectivity of military recruiting, I am sure that anyone complaining about not getting into UC Davis when they would have a few years ago still would have had to have a high school diploma, and therefore would qualify for the military as long as the required ASVAB scores were met. If they dont get the required ASVAB school they should re-think college.

      I used the military thing as a response to someone saying that we should cut military spending which REALISTICALLY would put our troops at risks of losing their lives just so someone can go to college in the state they want too, which is infintely times worse. Especially since now we have Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya to deal with, with North Korea and Iran not far behind.

      Besides the military would help them gain $$ from the Post 9/11 GI bill, as well as valuable experience AND a way to inflate their application without a stellar GPA as I know from personal experience that for colleges to get maximum financial aid they have to put aside room for veterans.

      • CalDude

        One thing you failed to mention is the heightened physical requirements for military service. If what I heard is true, you almost need to have the equivalent level of a professional athlete. Set me straight if my claim is ungrounded

        Those who gain admission to most universities with an athletic scholarship don’t need to come close to the academic requirements stated above.

  • CalDude

    Emiilie, don’t give up on your objective of a higher education at a high-end university. You won’t be the loser, UC Davis will be. Go to any top-notch school you can before it’s too late!

    The the way the admission process is evolving, studying and extracurricular activities will not be not the way to go. Instead, the strategy will be schmoozing with the rich people and their families—-those who benefit the most from the humongous tax cuts. It worked for Ronald Reagan, it can work for you.

    To all UC hopeful high school students, don’t take an honors physics class. Instead, attend a civic event in Granite Bay or El Dorado Hills.

    • CalDude

      Please forgive me for the typos above.

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  • the old guy

    Many High Schools are know as “Grade Inflation Schools”. Especially private/religious schools.

    (All 3 of my kids were accepted by several UCs. One went to UCSB, one is at Davis and the youngest just chose to accept UCD).

    None of my kids got 4.0 (they were 3.5+ sutdents). But their 3.5 had greater weight than some schools’ 4.0 GPA.

    The “coach” that was featured in the story is part of what’s wrong. If you have enough money to get your kid an “acceptance coach” your kid is probably attending a “grade inflation” school. Transfer your kid to a high-performing public school.

    The student will actually work harder and have a better chance of getting in to the school of their choice.

  • craig

    The UC System was paid for by California Tax Payers to educate Californian’s!

    Yet the UC Regents have decided to allow up to 50% foreign student enrollment as a way to keep their insane salaries and benefits

    We need a law that forces UC to accept all qualified California students first,then if their is any room left accept out of state and foreign students.

    I can’t believe this is not a bigger scandal!!!!.

  • LD

    Libya University is taking applications. Apply at your local US military recruiter.

  • lili

    This is horrible. Does no one realize that the kids we ruin today will be the people(hopefully) that will take care of us or run our elder care homes tomorrow?

    Take away options for your children and don’t be surprised when they are jobless and in your basement at 40 or at McDonald’s at 21.

    Everyone over 40 wonders now why there is so much abuse from the younger generation. We do not respect them and they will not respect us.

    This is it people…these children are literally our future.

    Ignore their needs at your peril.

  • Ginger Reese

    Why don’t we let the ones from California have first crack. Why are there so many students from other cntries here, they should go where they live. Let’s make California schools for Californians first.

    • mm

      Didn’t u read the article??? ITS BECAUSE OF BUDGET CUTS! thats why! Also, students that are applying to the UC’s aren’t only from other countries, but other states as well!


    You can thank all those old, racist white people who are getting their “free ride” off of Prop 13. Those who have benefited from Prop 13 should man-up and pay their fair share in taxes so our pubic education system is adequately funded, whether you like it or not.

    But no fear, thanks the 2010 census results, California will soon have a Democrat supermajority, so the Democrats won’t have to deal with these nazi Republicans who want to throw the sick and poor out into the streets without any safety nets and forcing our children to “join the military,” instead of them making their own choices on what they want to do with their future – all in the name of profits. Because we all know that Republicans are all about war, war, war, and shooting their guns and asking questions later.

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  • Lori Preston

    California once had the pre-emininent public education system in the world. The UC’s are still highly ranked among the top Universities in the world, but now put in the position of accepting more oos students in order to pay the bills. There is no rocket science here – education in our state will continue its decline until we make some sacrifices for our children.
    As citizens, we all have choices. We can continue to vote against any tax increases, choose to stay silent about the degradation of all of our systems by PROP 13, and support politicians beholden to lobbies like the prison guards.
    Or we can stop giving lip service to support for children, and actually spend every last dime on upgrading every aspect of public education. I agree with another commentator. We choose the former at our own peril!!

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