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Doubt about the wait list


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I am in the waitlist for UCLA's D.env program. As I understand from the concept of waitlist, they would only accept me of one of the accepted people declines the offer.

But the date for accepting/rejecting university offers is April 15, does this mean I'll hear from UCLA about my application status after April 15? And by that time I would have already accepted one of the other offers that I have received (UC Davis, Univ of Wisconsin Madison, etc.).

How does this work?

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Well, there's the deadline for accepting/rejecting funded offers of April 15 but that doesn't mean people will wait until then to decide. It's likely that some will decide in advance that they either will or won't attend that program. If they do, then you may hear before April 15. 

If you've already accepted another funded offer and you hear from UCLA after April 15, you would need to ask to be released from that offer before you could accept the offer at UCLA. 

This recent discussion may be helpful: 


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In addition to what @rising_star said and the linked discussion, here's what I would recommend you do for your specific case:

1. Decide whether you would consider an offer from UCLA above your other choices. This is a good time to email the program with any questions, maybe even ask to skype some of their students. You want as much info as you can get right now because the timeline for choosing later on can be very short. Ideally, within the next few days, you should talk to all of the programs you're considered (including this waitlisted one) and have a final ranked list of your own preferences.

2. If UCLA is not #1 on this ranked list, then withdraw yourself from their waitlist and accept your #1 ranked choice instead! You're done!

3. But if UCLA is #1 on your list (or could be #1 on your list depending on funding) then you should reduce your list to just two schools: UCLA and your top backup school. You can then decline the other offers (this is a good practice since it will help their waitlists move, and you are hoping someone else does this with their UCLA offer so you can hear back soon!). There are two pathways you could use to narrow down to 2 schools, depending on your priorities:

Path "A": Schools #2 and below are all pretty much equally good to you and you want to maximize your chances of waiting for a UCLA offer, then...

4A. If you have not heard from UCLA around April 8 (i.e. 1 week before deadline), starting from School #2, ask them if they can extend the deadline of their offer to beyond April 15. If they say no, then move onto the next school down your list. Once you find a school that is willing to let you decide after April 15, then make that your backup school and decline the other offers.

5A. Wait and see if you get an offer from UCLA. If you do, then great! If not, then accept your backup school.

Path "B": There is a clear #2 ranked school for you and if you don't get into UCLA, you would prefer #2 over the other ones on your list, then....

4B. Decline schools #3 and below on your list.

5B. Around April 8, ask school #2 if they will be able to extend the deadline past April 15.

6B. Same as "5A".


In any case, if the request to extend the deadline past April 15 is denied, then on April 15, accept your top choice backup school. If you get an offer from UCLA after April 15, follow rising_star's advice (i.e. ask if you can be released from your accepted school and then accept UCLA).

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