What Happens When a College Admits Too Many Students?

Every year college admissions go through a very interesting phase called the summer melt- a time when a percentage of students drop out even after paying the enrollment deposits. A recent study found that most students that do drop realize that they can't pay for college, or that their scholarship didn't go through making it impossible to attend. Colleges are well aware about this phenomenon and factor that percentage in when they send out applications. But what happens when everyone that you accepted plans to come? 

This is the horror that UC Riverside faced this year. A surplus of over 1,200 students accepted their offer to the California based university out of which 499 students' acceptances were rescinded. This is largely unusual but a rising trend. As incomes are fluctuating, and acceptance rates are rising, students are choosing to stay in their safety and reach schools because of the financial burden it promises to reduce. UC Riverside has issued an apology even though it still has a surplus of over 800 for its 7,000 student freshman class. This isn't the only university that has overestimated the number of students it can take. Carnegie Mellon did it in 2015, Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health the following year, as well as UC San Diego. 

For Riverside, the next steps would be to find ways to accommodate so many students. An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education said that the university plans to invite students to spend their freshman year abroad, find local students to commute to school instead of staying in dorms, and even send students to community college for a year with a promise that the subsequent three years will be at Riverside. These are problems for large public schools no matter how prestigious and something that high school students should factor in when choosing colleges.