Are more and more students being placed on the waitlists of highly selective colleges? The answer is yes. But is it getting increasingly difficult to earn a slot in an incoming class off a college waitlist? While it’s arguable, we’d say that answer is a definitive no. You see, there’s a common misconception that the more students who apply to a school in a given year, the more difficult it will be to earn admission to that school. Colleges — particularly our nation’s most highly selective ones — get better and better each and every year at getting students to apply. This includes students who aren’t even qualified for admission. Yes. Our nation’s most elite schools intentionally send brochures to students who don’t have a shot on God’s green earth of earning admission simply to boost application numbers and invariably lower their admission rate — all in the hope of boosting their all-important “US News & World Report” college ranking. This same logic applies to college waitlists. Yes, colleges are placing more and more students in limbo, but if you approach the waitlist correctly and give yourself the best shot possible of earning admission, it’s no harder to get off most highly selective college waitlists this year than it was five years ago.
Why Colleges Waitlist Applicants
As Melissa Korn reports for “The Wall Street Journal” in a piece entitled “College Wait Lists Are Ballooning as Schools Struggle to Predict Enrollment,” “With high-school students applying to more colleges these days, schools have a tougher time predicting how many admitted students will actually enroll. Too few students can lead to financial trouble. Too many means overcrowded dorms and classrooms. Some schools are locking in more students through binding early-decision offers. They are also keeping a deeper bench of backups to whom they can turn if, come the deposit deadline, they are still short of enrollment targets or don’t have quite the right mix of students. Wait-listed applicants usually accept admission offers, allowing schools to control enrollment numbers.”
We take no issue with colleges placing many students on waitlists. Colleges are businesses. They have a right to ensure that they’re able to fill up their classes. They have a right to enroll the students they most wish to enroll. They have a right to ensure that their class keeps them financially healthy. It’s a practical business strategy. And if students feel that these schools have no intention of enrolling them and are only placing them in limbo for the heck of it, they have every right to decline their spot on the waitlist.
Do our readers agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts on college waitlists by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!