College waitlists: the in-between of college admissions

College wait lists offers can leave seniors with more questions than answers.  Why didn’t I get accepted, yet wasn’t denied admissions?  What information, if anything, should I send to boost my chances of admissions from the wait list?  How, and is, the wait list ranked?  What are my chances of being admitted from the wait list?  Where else should I enroll, while I’m waiting for X college to possibly admit me after May 1?  Do I still want to attend a college that essentially told me, “You’re qualified, yet someone else was more qualified?”

Check with college admissions offices before sending any additional information.  Some colleges welcome a student’s continued demonstrated interest in their school and will weight that initiative in their wait list decisions.  Other colleges want no additional information and will disregard any sent.

Move forward with plans to enroll at a college where a student was accepted.  Last year’s wait list acceptance rates are not a clear predictor for this year’s possibilities.  Be sure to have a valuable college option for Fall 2012.

College admissions offices will also tell wait-listed students how they will re-evaluate applicants for admissions, if they turn to the wait list after the national May 1 reply date for admitted students.   Majors or undeclared status can be considered, as universities sometimes seek to balance the academic colleges on campus.  Often, wait lists are not ranked nor are students who reply they want to remain on a wait list in advance of the deadline, somehow moved to the front of the line.  Wait list admissions is not a “first come, first served” process.

The value of the potential education and experience at a wait-listed college in comparison with the colleges where a student has been accepted should be considered, as part of the decision making.  Ultimately, to stay on a wait list or not is an individual decision that each student and their families should discuss.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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2 thoughts on “College waitlists: the in-between of college admissions

  1. Also, maybe the colleges that granted acceptance-versus the ones that did not-have a better understanding of you as a student. Since you applied to those schools that accepted you as well, then maybe the matchmaking process know as college admissions is somewhat effective after all.

  2. Wait lists can serve the needs of the college more than the educational goals of the student. Often decisions about who to admit from the wait list are based on institutional concerns, like we need more ______ majors or diversity would be served if we had students from ______ geographic region. Ask colleges how a student will be re-considered for admissions from the wait list.

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