More universities over these past few days have been turning to their waitlists. Brown University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Chicago all recently turned to the waitlists, admitting students into their incoming classes. So much for the folks who suggest that being waitlisted might as well be a rejection. We always smile and nod when folks suggest as much. They can think that. If only they knew. If an applicant chooses to do nothing while on the waitlist, those folks are right. Their status on the waitlist might as well be a rejection. Inundate the admissions office with all one has accomplished since first applying to the university and one’s waitlist status might as well be a rejection. But approach the waitlist the right way and your status on the waitlist could well lead to an offer of admission.
We were even featured in an article recently in “Bloomberg” in which the title of the article suggested that being on the waitlist might as well be a rejection. It’s simply not the case (we had no say in the journalist’s choice of a title for her piece). Our years of experience in helping students gain admission off waitlists informs us that waitlists are not necessarily — not necessarily at all — a road to nowhere. There is a road to nowhere but college waitlists don’t lead there (heck, there’s even a 1980’s rock song by David Byrne of Talking Heads).
So for all of those pessimists who believed being waitlisted was nothing to get too excited about, we’ve heard from a whole bunch of happy students and parents of late to counter your intuitions. We’re sorry you were wrong? Not really, not really at all. Congratulations to all of our students who continue to work their way off of college waitlists! And, for those folks who haven’t yet heard, realize that many colleges continue to turn to their waitlists as late as late August! Well after you’ve already deposited (and in some cases…packed) for another university.