Your student has been waitlisted for admission to his first choice college. He has officially entered the limbo in which more and more students (perhaps as high as 10% of applicants) find themselves. He’s not in – but he hasn’t exactly been rejected either. It is rather like trying to fly standby – you don’t have a seat on the plane, but there is a chance that you might get one.
What exactly is a waitlist?
The waitlist is a list of students who are qualified for acceptance to the college, but for whom the college does not have a current place. Some students may actually be overqualified, and the school is waiting to see whether they are accepted and choose to attend a more selective school. The college doesn’t want to waste a spot in their accepted student pool on someone they assume will probably attend another college. Other students may be slightly underqualified and are given a “courtesy” place on the waitlist as a softer form of rejection. This may be especially true of students who are related to alumni or wealthy donors.
But most students on the waitlist are fully qualified to attend the school. The waitlist becomes a safety net for the college if their “yield” (number of accepted students who make a deposit) is low. As students apply to more and more colleges, the yield may become more unpredictable.