If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve been on a waitlist for something in your life. Whether it be waiting for a spot at a restaurant or being on the waitlist for a class, we spend most of our lives waiting for things. Waiting for your college acceptance letters is a cruel and unusual sort of waiting. And then the moment comes when they’ve been released, and you open yours up, only to find that you’ve been put on yet another waitlist. Being stuck in this agonizing cycle of college admissions purgatory is painful, and it’s easy to feel like giving up. But have no fear! If you’re on the waitlist for UC Berkeley, we have a few words of advice and encouragement for you.
By this point in the year, you’ve probably already heard back from many schools. But from our very biased point of view, we can guarantee you that none of them are as amazing as UC Berkeley. That’s exactly why you should put so much effort into your waitlist statement! You’re allowed to write a paragraph or two when you agree to be put on the waitlist, and we’d suggest showcasing yourself to the best of your ability. Put a few things on there that you’ve done since you sent your application in back in November, and maybe explain a few of the things on your resume you didn’t get to before. If UC Berkeley is your dream school, and even if it isn’t, it doesn’t take too long to fill out the form. Putting in a little more work and writing about how you think you’d be a good fit could go a long way.
As someone who experienced being on the waitlist, I know how you’re feeling. It’s a little depressing to see all your hard work get put in line with thousands of other extremely qualified students. That’s why I say it’s totally worth waiting a little longer. You’ve come too far to give up, and it could end up working out in the end.
Once you’re off the waitlist and accepted, you’re given a few options. You can participate in the Fall Program for Freshmen, or FPF, you can participate in Global Edge, or you can be a spring admit. I can’t speak to everyone’s experiences, but I personally chose the FPF. FPF gives you the opportunity to come to UC Berkeley rather than wait until the spring, but you won’t be taking classes on the main campus. You’ll be taking smaller-sized classes for the fall semester in a building a block away from Unit 2, or in San Francisco. It’s easy to feel detached from the main campus during this semester, but joining clubs is definitely a great way to feel a little more connected. At FPF, because the smaller sizes of classes, it’s easy to make friends, and I’d highly recommend doing so. It’s easy to get lost when you move to lecture halls with hundreds of students, so take advantage of the smaller class sizes while you can!
One thing about being a waitlist student is that it’s easy to feel like you’re inadequate and not quite up to the same level as students who were admitted regularly. But none of this is true. You weren’t let in as a pity acceptance, and the students who were accepted before you aren’t smarter or more qualified. The extremely high number of applicants to this school means the school can’t accept every qualified person, so often kids who get put on the waitlist are put there because the school can’t accommodate everyone right away. Just know that you are no less intelligent than other people here, and you deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.
Find a sense of camaraderie with your fellow waitlist friends! You actually put in a few months more of effort and stress into getting into this school than anyone else here, so you’ve more than earned it. Go get yourself some boba and give yourself a pat on the back. Waitlist kids are the best, so don’t get too discouraged if you are one! No matter what, you’ll end up where you’re meant to be, and we hope that that place ends up being UC Berkeley.