Pandemic Creates UC Santa Barbara Waitlist Anomaly

Nearly 10 Times as Many Waitlisted Freshmen Offered Admission in 2020 Than 2019

Credit: Courtesy

In 2020, UC Santa Barbara extended admission offers to 97 percent of wait-listed students — an unheard of boost from 10 percent the previous year. As the university prepares to plunge into its waitlist for fall 2021 and fill the seats of those students who turned down its admission offers, many are wondering if their chances of being plucked off the waitlist are as great as last year.

In fall 2019, UCSB extended 8,863 waitlist offers to freshmen, from which 601 were offered admission and ultimately 251 enrolled. This massively expanded in fall 2020, when UCSB extended 9,883 waitlist offers to freshmen, from which 6,148 were offered admission and 1,358 of them enrolled.

Lisa Przekop, director of admissions at UCSB, said that last year was an anomaly that was a result of the pandemic. She doesn’t expect to see the same circumstances this cycle.

“There was tremendous uncertainty about mode of instruction, housing opportunities, safety protocols, and employment opportunities, which affected university enrollment across the county,” Przekop said. “Many students canceled their enrollment plans and decided to stay closer to home or to take gap years. This created robust waitlist activity at a level never before seen.”

Freshman applicants currently on the waiting list will be notified if they get an offer of admission on the UCSB applicant portal after May 1 and no later than June 30.


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