College Puts Accepted Students on Wait List

More than 300 applicants who thought they were accepted to the University of Illinois at Chicago (search) were shifted onto a waiting list after more students than expected said they wanted to attend as freshmen this fall.

UI Chicago had 2,600 spaces in its freshman class, but almost 3,000 of the successful applicants replied to say they wanted to enroll, school spokesman Bill Burton said. The university wouldn't say how many students were sent acceptance letters for the freshman class.

The university has been able to cut the waiting list to 140 students by finding successful applicants who no longer planned to attend and by counseling students on the waiting list about other colleges that still have openings, Burton said.

Barrington High School senior Priynka Rajaram said she was devastated when she was wait-listed months after being accepted. She had applied to only one other college, and its admissions process was over by then.

"I was really worried," said Rajaram, who has since been admitted to UIC after all. "I thought I wouldn't be going to college for the whole year."

Colleges routinely accept more students than they have space for, because they know many applicants — accepted at more than one place — will pick some other school in the end.

UIC has an enrollment of about 25,000, including 16,000 undergraduates. It received a record 13,600 applications this year, even though it moved up its deadline from April 1 to Jan. 15, Burton said.