College counselor and author of Going Geek: What Every Smart Kid and Every Smart Parent Should Know About College Admissions John Carpenter has more helpful insight into the waitlist decision in a post on his blog, askjohnaboutcollege.com. Check out Not Loving the Wait List? to learn about how and why colleges use them, the realities of a waitlist spot, and why you should wear a waitlist spot as a badge of honor. Important information for students making their decisions!
Yesterday we addressed factors you may need to consider in deciding whether or not to accept a spot on a waitlist. Information about some of those factors may be included in your waitlist letter. For example, it may also include information about whether or not the waitlist is prioritized or ranked, which tells you a lot about your chances of being admitted. If the letter is unclear, here are some questions for you to ask the admission office as you try to decide whether or not to remain on a waitlist:
• How many students do you anticipate will be on your waitlist?
• Do you rank or tier your waitlist? And if so, where do I fall?
• What is the likelihood of being admitted from the waitlist?
• Will financial aid still be available if I am admitted from the waitlist?
• Will housing still be available?
• Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of being admitted?
• When do you expect to inform students you are admitting from the waitlist?
Tomorrow: Waitlisted? Next Steps to Take
If you are placed on a waitlist, you haven’t been accepted and you haven’t been denied. You’re in limbo, and that can be stressful. Students rarely anticipate they will be placed on a waitlist at one of the colleges where they have applied, but they very well may be.
If you have received a waitlist letter from a college, there are several factors you may need to consider in deciding whether or not to accept that spot on the waitlist:
• Uncertainty. You may not know if you have been admitted off the waitlist until sometime during the summer.
• Cost. You will need to make a firm commitment to another school and send in a deposit to ensure a seat in the fall. If you are accepted off the waitlist you will forfeit the deposit made to that fi rst school.
• Financial aid. Make sure the school where you are waitlisted will still have aid available when you hear about your acceptance. Some colleges may have already awarded most of their aid or scholarships.
• Pressure. Your continued achievement— a particularly successful second semester both academically and in your extracurricular activities— may be a fundamental factor in a college’s decision about who to admit off the waitlist.