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508 Dreams Dashed at UC Santa Cruz

Uploaded: Aug 11, 2015
(Written by John Raftrey)

UC Santa Cruz has withdrawn their offer of admission to 508 students who were planning to attend the university this fall. The university cites issues with transcripts as the reason for revoking the offers of admission.

Santa Cruz Sentinel

The transcript issues seem to fall into three categories:

1) Late transcripts that missed the July 1st deadline.
2) Missing transcripts for courses not taken at the high school.
3) Bad grades, dropped courses, didn't graduate.

For students who had their admission dropped at any of the UC's, check out my colleague's website: AskMsSun.com She is an expert on UC appeals.

Lesson for all high school students. This applies to most colleges, not just the UC's.

1) Make sure your high school knows the UC deadline is July 1. Most schools know this. Most missing transcripts are caused because the student forgot to order one before they left for the graduation party.

2) Have ALL the institutions where you took courses send the school a transcript. If they don't do it directly, then have them send it to you in a tamper proof envelope and you send it to the school. Send the transcripts even if the courses and the grades show up on your high school transcript. This includes students who went to more than one high school. If freshman year was in Paris, you have to send the college an official copy of your Parisian school's transcript.

3) If you are headed for a D or F, or dropped a course you told the college you were taking, then call them while high school is still in session. Have your counselor call them as well and explain the circumstances. If you didn't graduate and are taking a summer school class, then you have a problem because chances are the summer school class ends after the transcript deadline. That means the will have your old transcript and they may revoke your admission. UC Santa Cruz will revoke it for sure. So you have to find the counselor at the college who handled your case and tell them what happened. Chances are you will have to appeal their decision to take away your admission ticket.

4) If you get arrested over the summer and you are over 18 or are a juvenile who has been sentenced to juvenile hall, right after you call your lawyer, call your college counselor. This has to be handled delicately with the schools and you should get some good advice.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Rext, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Aug 13, 2015 at 9:58 am

I am curious if these 508 students are all from California. Could it be that UCSC used this technicality to drop in-state tuition paying students in favor of letting in more out-of-state, higher tuition paying students?

Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Aug 13, 2015 at 2:51 pm

No, not all of them.

If you read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article (hyperlinked above), they interviewed two candidates who were dropped from consideration. One was a California resident and one was from Virginia.

Posted by Rext, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Aug 13, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Ok, that's one. I'd like to see UCSC show the total number of in-state v. out-of-state affected by the admissions cancellations, in addition to the year by year numbers they provided to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 14, 2015 at 9:56 am

508 out of 23,284 admitted students or over 2%. Two years ago it was around 0.5% but still 108 students. Since it's become progressively harder to be admitted to a UC, it's hard to imagine that all 2% are slackers.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community,
on Aug 14, 2015 at 11:58 am

I believe it's actually 508 students out of the 3500 freshman and 1250 transfer undergrad applicants who had ACCEPTED their offer of admission, which would be over 10%, a much more significant percentage. Many of the 7,000 waitlisted students who were ultimately denied admission would have loved to had this opportunity.

Posted by And so what?, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Aug 14, 2015 at 1:10 pm

I personally think that all the "dashed" students were, or should have been, aware of the rules. If they could not follow them, maybe they do not belong in the flagship university that the UC system is supposed to be.

As to Anonymous's comment: I am sure UCSC takes this kind of ultimate rejections into its planning. Either it admitted enough students to cover this loss, or they will go dig in their wait-list to replace the "dashed dreams".

Posted by Freshman Parent, a resident of Martens-Carmelita,
on Aug 14, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Having just gone through this with my daughter going to CalPoly, I can tell you that it is not trivial to meet these requirements. If you are paying attention, you know what the deadline is. However, the high school counselor says they will send the HS transcript, and you order a transcript to be sent from Foothill College, and then there is silence. You have no way to know if any of this happens. There is no tracking mechanism. By the time you get verification that the transcripts have arrived, it is just before, or even after the deadline. If a problem, had arisen, there likely would not be enough time to order and deliver more transcripts in time. I can easily see how a deserving student could have their admission revoked through no fault of their own.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 11:04 am

UCSC is on quarters and the first day of classes is September 19th. I can understand not wanting students to start school and then being rejected because of missing transcripts. But why a July 1 deadline when the quarter starts 2 1/2 months later.

Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Well sure, Rext.

Go ask them. After all, you're the one who is particularly interested in the information. Why don't you take the initiative here?

Posted by Legal Liability, a resident of another community,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm

I sure hope some of these 508 students take SOMEONE to court. Probably a large fraction are through no fault of the student. It's an irrational requirement to expect those students from schools where Graduation is in mid June to provide a transcript by July 1. No wonder some of these schools fail to meet the transcript deadline.

The UC system should forbid such stupidity in the regulations of one of its campuses. Some pea brained administrator at UC Santa Cruz has OCD. What a sad state!

Posted by UCSC Alumni, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Aug 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm

All 2015 admitted UC Santa Cruz students received a Conditions of Admissions contract. Here is a link to it here: Web Link The July 1st transcript deadline should not have come as a surprise.

Posted by UCSC Alumni, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Aug 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm

I just checked the websites for each one of the UC campuses, and they all have July 1st deadlines for transcripts. UC Santa Cruz is not alone in this, every single campus says the same thing. This story is based on an article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel which quotes Michelle Whittingham, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management at UCSC. Unfortunately, Ms Whittingham is simply incorrect in her assertion that UC Santa Cruz is different in this way.

Posted by What if..., a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Aug 17, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Roughly 2 weeks from end of school to the UC deadline is very tight, with no leeway for correction. These are school administrators with tons of year end responsibilities, and teachers/professors that may or may not meet their own school's deadlines for providing final grades.

Do the transcripts have to be mailed, or is there electronic transmission? If they are mailed, then allow for another 3-7 days for delivery, and the occasional missing letter.

Would the student know if their transcript was sent or not? Probably not.

If the student requested the transcript by June 20th or so, what else can they do? Harass their teachers and administrators personally? They have no mechanism to ensure a transcript is sent.

For the UC's part, they might be ruining many student's lives, because the student accepted their offer, and rejected other offers. Now what are they supposed to do? this might be rather immoral and bad business on the part of the UC.

Posted by UCSC Alumni, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Aug 17, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Final grades must be submitted by teachers for graduation anyway, so the high school has them right away. Now days most transcripts are submitted electronically anyway, Palo Alto high schools use a system called Parchment for this. You can track your transcript and everything.

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Community Center,
on Aug 17, 2015 at 11:49 pm

ALL final transcripts from Paly were submitted to colleges electronically through Parchment; this system updates students by email the status of their final transcript transmission every step of the way. Seniors at Paly took their finals a week before the rest of the school so that they can have their final grades early and graduate on the final day of school. I can not speak for other schools, but Paly's final transcript transmission process is perfected.

Posted by Andy, a resident of another community,
on Aug 19, 2015 at 4:03 pm

I know two kids who were cut in late July because while in high school they took a college class, aced it, and then submitted their high school transcript on time; a transcript that included the college class. The problem? The transcript didn't come directly from the college. The result? Cancelled admission. Not a fine or enrollment hold, like all the other UC schools do, but cancelled admission. Of course these kids corrected problem immediately, but UCSC didn't care. These kids turned down other schools to go to UCSC but now are waiting in line at the local CC for classes. All that work and involvement in high school out the window. The moral of this story is if you are a good high school student with UC aspirations, choose one of the other nine. UC Santa Cruz is too risky.

Posted by UCSC Alumni, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Aug 24, 2015 at 12:08 pm

My kid also took a college class while in high school. She immediately submitted the transcript for that directly from the college, as well as submitting her high school transcript. Directions read, problem solved. My theory is that since kids are relying so much on professional college counselors, and things change from year to year, and applying to so many places that they are simply not reading and following all the directions themselves. Just read and follow the directions, kids. As I said earlier, it's the same story for all the UCs now, not just Santa Cruz.

Posted by Erik Pearson, a resident of another community,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:36 pm

The story is not about student responsibility, or those who may or may not have read the FAQ, or may or may not have been on top of their admissions process ...

It is that UCSC was overenrolled, and used this as a mechanism to reduce the number of incoming freshmen.
This is a simple fact, confirmed by the UCSC Director of Admissions, Michael McCawley.
There always have been and always will be some percentage of admissions which suffer technical paperwork problems. This year, it just so happened that this represented an opportunity to deal with the pesky and persistent problem of UCSC over-enrollment.

Other UC campuses use the deadline as a way to ensure that paperwork is submitted in a timely manner, and as a check to ensure that any stragglers receive an urgent warning to get their paperwork in. They do NOT use it as a means to cut enrollment as UCSC does, because most do not have over-enrollment problems. Again, this was confirmed by Dir. McCawley.

We met with Michael, who was very friendly, helpful, honest, and spent far longer with us than our appointment slot. He may not have said what we wanted to hear (which was, "Boy, did we make a whopper of a mistake -- welcome back to Santa Cruz, you Banana Slug you"), I do sympathize with his position of having to defend a policy he does not control, yet to be on the front line for dealing with many upset families.

And there is also recognition that this deadline (which is only two years old) is too tight in relation to the end of the school year for most high schools. For instance, UCSC will move to using the postmark date rather then the receipt date to compare to the deadline. Believe it or not, transcripts do get delivered to the wrong address! And they also have a special list of high schools which release their transcripts after the deadline. Most if not all of the rescinded students who were restored had been cut because their HS transcripts, sent by the HS, were received after the deadline. Those high schools were NOT on UCSC's special list. I guess now they are. Just a little mistake.

The other part of the story is how this has needlessly disrupted, and potentially ruined, the education plans for hundreds of students, and ruined what should have been a summer of celebration and preparation for their families.

Posted by UCSC Alumni, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Aug 29, 2015 at 9:35 pm

For those interested, here's a link to a summer newsletter sent to counselors from UCSC about the subject of the July 1st transcript deadline Web Link The great news is that nearly 300 cancelled students have had their admission reinstated.

Posted by Bay Area, a resident of another community,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm

I understand your desire to defend the school UCSC Alumni, but the conduct of the admission department is indefensible. For McCawley to suggest that UCSC is a "trail blazer" and that other UC schools will be doing the same thing is absurd. No UC school does what UCSC has done, and as Erik discovered, this was UCSC's way of addressing its own admission's department negligence. Under UCSC's own policy, there were less severe penalties available to it for a late transcript, but it chose the harshest. There are still many outraged families - mine included - who intend on challenging Mr. McCawley's assertions in other forums. The damaged inflicted this year is likely to reverberate long into the future, but UCSC could really help itself by making an offer to the kids it hurt this year.

Posted by Kendra James, a resident of another community,
on Sep 4, 2015 at 6:39 pm

I am someone with first hand knowledge of this. My daughter was not a slacker. We did pay attention to the deadline. However, it says, "your admission MAY be cancelled if you fail to meet the deadline." To us, that meant there was some leeway. Now, my daughter had "dual credit" in which all classes did show on her high school transcript but there was the local jr college transcript that we needed. Well, UCSC informed about a week before July 1 that we needed the Jr college also. That transcript only showed 2 classes taken during junior year - again, these were completed high school courses in which she earned an A. Now, a friend who attends UC Berkeley said also, yes, the July 1 deadline was there but guess how Cal handled this...they simply charged the student a late fee of $25 and told them they would not be able to enroll until the transcript is submitted. That sounds more like a student friendly policy. In our case, my daughter was devastated. Mind you, May 1st was the date they had to accept or decline other offers. Most of these students were UPSET because they had declined other offers. Had it been April 15th deadline and UCSC cancelled admission...well..you know the rest. So, I would ask all of you commenting here that these students are slackers, they are not. These are simple little things that can be worked out. The only firm deadline I have seen in this entire college process was the application date of Nov 30 at midnight. Perhaps if UCSC is going to cancel admissions, then they should give a drop dead deadline with no maybe's or you might be or you could be. It leaves room there. Finally, like my daughter, I'm sure most of these students had applied, written their letters, personal statements, accepted the offer, requested ALL SAT scores...not just your highest ones...but ALL...ALLL the AP scores. All that and then to have your admission revoked because a dual credit transcript!!! It wasn't right. And we found out today that they have reconsidered and have found the error of their ways. My daughter was offered a spring admission. Better late than never I guess.

Posted by Kendra James, a resident of another community,
on Sep 4, 2015 at 6:49 pm

I have more to say. I'm just glad that someone realized the error. But this has really caused a great deal of sadness and a long hard summer of what do we do now. We had scholarship monies that had been directed to UCSC...I would have to write those letters to ask the agencies to resend a check...but to where?? So daughter enrolled at the local junior colleges which further complicates matters because does she now have to get the 60 units to transfer or ??? Then the overwhelming number of people asking her, "when are you leaving for college," and the sadness started all over again. This all due to the fact of a late transcript. The biggest impact to the family was that we purchased a new vehicle because daughter is home now. The plan was that she was going away for 2 years so dad would get her car. Well, just last week we went ahead and signed the paperwork....1 down payment and 1 car note later, she is offered to attend UCSC. I just want to sympathize with all the parents and students out there that this one small decision affected much more that what the admissions office probably ever thought!

Posted by James, a resident of another community,
on Sep 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm

The question isn't whether UC Santa Cruz had the legal right to cancel these admissions. They clearly did. The question is, is this any way for a university to treat teenagers? It's sadistic! No other UC does this. No private college does this. If a kid screws up, put them on probation. Call them. Give them every chance to correct their mistake. UCSC isn't acting like a nurturing place where young minds are shaped, they're acting like a collection agency. These bureaucrats should be fired and replaced by actual educators.

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