UCB MFE Help! I need to make a pretty big decision quickly


I received admission to Cornell Financial Engineering and Georgia Tech QCF and I am waiting on Columbia Math Fin and NYU MSMF, and reject from everything else (Princeton, CU MFE, CMU), though I did get Princeton interview. Today I received an email from Berkeley admissions stating that my "application for spring 2016 admission to the Master of Financial Engineering Program at the Haas School of Business is being held for further consideration."

The email goes on to state that I am not in any way guaranteed admission, but that if I accept this hold status and do the stuff they want me to do (they haven't said what yet, but probably preprogram courses), they'll look at my application again at the end of this year (Dec 2015).

The problem is that I have to respond to this email by March 26th, and that I do not know my status vis a vis the CU MathFin and NYU MSMF. From forum discussion I can see that NYU usually doesn't send decisions before early April.

As I understand it, I have two options.

A) Accept hold status at Berkeley, jump through whatever hoops they require of me, and reapply next year to all the programs again next year.

The pro of this is that I can apply again next year across the board with more work experience (Which is probably my biggest weak point). The cons are that I am giving up the possible option of going to NYU or CU this year, and definite Cornell, and that maybe I am wasting a year of my life.

B) Don't accept hold status at Berkeley, and go to one of the programs I get into this year.

The pros are that I'm wasting less time, and that Cornell is probably pretty good (god knows, outside of Quantnet people are actually impressed by this). The con is that NYU, which is the highest ranked program I am waiting on, doesn't crack top 5, and even then its fairly likely that I won't get in.

So should I go with option A or option B?
Did you attend Cornell's webinar this morning for admitted candidates? If not, send them an email and ask for the PDF. Their slide deck and presentation was extremely impressive. I'm inclined to agree with your comment about the ranking.
1. So if you are placed on hold by any program, does it mean you need to accept it for your application to be on hold?
2. What if you accept the hold status? Do you need to withdraw applications from other schools?
3. If you are placed on hold status on your prefered school and accept it, is it possible to hold on to any other admission offers as well till a later point in time?

4. Is hold status given post interview or before it?