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Waitlists - Fish or cut bait?

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

older man with young boy fishing

With schools moving to test-optional status and student uncertainty continuing, applications within the common application have risen over 11%, although the number of applicants has risen slightly over 2%. With students holding more offers in hand, many schools are wondering if accepted students will enroll at their institution (aka yield.) Therefore, applicants that barely missed the cut are put on waitlists so that the universities can eventually fill their spots. We love our data partner College Kick Start and review their annual waitlist analysis of 100 schools.

  • Nationally - About 29% of students are pulled off of the waitlist - this is a significant increase from prior years

  • Selective Schools - About 7% of students are pulled off of the waitlist

Some suggestions for waitlisted students:

  • Consider why that school is important to you? Is it more about the win, or is there some genuinely unique offering vital to your undergraduate success that can't be found elsewhere?

  • Fall in love with your next school! You have applied to a balanced list of schools of which several can meet the majority of your key college criteria. Put your name on the waitlist with limited expectations of admission. Review your key college criteria and rate your other admitted schools through that lens. Perhaps you did not seriously consider other options, now is the time to place a deposit, get engaged with admitted students, and attend an admitted students day.

  • Keep engaged - Let the school's admission office know of your continued interest, why you believe the school is a good fit, specific courses you will take, and any new academic or award information that might improve your file. If you have developed a meaningful relationship with a Senior teacher who can write a killer recommendation letter, see if that content can go in your file. Keep in touch periodically if you continue to have an interest as time goes by. As AP scores and final grades arrive, send them in if they improve your academic profile.

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