Waitlist Stories

Waking up on UC Berkeley Decision Day 2019, I was completely nerve-wracked. It was my last school to hear a decision from, and most definitely the one I wanted to see a “Congratulations!” email from the most. Not knowing what time the decision was going to come out, I was a mess all day. I couldn’t pay attention in class, I was checked out when talking to my friends; the only thing I could think about was the fact that Berkeley was my dream school, and I knew that this was the day that my dream was either going to come true, or become out of my reach.

I didn’t know that decisions were out until I got a text from my friend that he had gotten in. I immediately logged onto my Berkeley portal to check my decision.

I didn’t get in.

Or at least that’s what I thought at first. After reading the entire thing, I realized that I had been offered a spot on the waitlist. I didn’t really know what that meant or what my chances were of getting off the waitlist. For the moment, I took it as a rejection. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but the idea of getting off the waitlist and still getting to go to my dream school was always in the back of my mind.

Waitlist decisions come out after May 1st, which is the deadline to submit your statement of intent to register at UC schools. It felt weird to commit to one college, knowing that there was still a possibility I would be going somewhere else. I felt like it was naive of me to continue to hope to get off the Berkeley waitlist, so I tried my hardest to get excited about the school I was committing to. Even though I tried to convince myself that this other school was where I belonged and was excited to spend the next four years, I didn’t truly feel that. I wanted to go to Berkeley, and the fact that there was still a chance was making it hard for me to be happy for myself with the other school.

But then, May 16th came.

I was in my car on the way to school for a rehearsal when I noticed an email pop up on my phone from UC Berkeley. The rest of the drive was the longest 5 minutes of my life waiting until I arrived at school and could finally check my phone. The email said, “there has been an important update to your UC Berkeley account”. My brain automatically thought this would be a rejection. I was still trying to not get my hopes up as I logged into my portal and waited for the page to load.

Confetti filled my phone screen and I saw that “Congratulations!” I had so longed for. Everything I had hoped for was falling into place.

I believe that everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be. If I was supposed to go to the school I originally committed to, I never would have gotten off the Berkeley waitlist. Even though my journey with college decisions looked different than a lot of my peers, I still found my way to the place that I belong.

Berkeley Bound!

Author: Kalysta Garland

Hi! My name is Kalysta Garland, and I am an incoming sophomore at Cal majoring in Legal Studies and intending to minor in Human Rights. On campus I am a part of Greek Life and work as a Campus Ambassador.