What is Waitlisting?

Acceptances/ Denials/Waitlistings are being released as we pass March 31st. Since all Rivermont students must apply to at least two reach schools and because some very selective schools are reach schools for anyone, there will be Rivermont students who do not receive a “yes” or a “no” but are informed that they are on a wait list. So what is that limbo known as “waitlisted” and can it ever be a good thing?

It is definitely a good thing. It means you are still on the school’s radar. It means a school is interested, perhaps even impressed with your application but with maybe 45,000 applications and 2,000 places for a freshman class, the school can only initially accept a certain number ( including a cushion of the number they believe will not accept) in order to arrive at the final freshman class. The Common Application and online applications has increased the total number of applications received per school immensely and to say that trying to figure “the yield” or the magic freshman class is extremely difficult is an understatement.

After May 1st when accepted students have sent in deposits and accepted a school’s offer, the school will take a look at how many students they still need, how many males or females, how many biology majors versus engineering students- all those considerations that make a balanced freshman class. Your application might be one used to balance. However, if the class is filled by May 1, then no students will come off the Wait List.

Be prepared for a last minute offer, a last minute dash out to the college or university for a visit and a last minute decision. It can and has happened with Rivermont students. A waitlisted Yale student, for example, all set to enroll at Duke, received a last minute call and enrolled at Yale.

How does one maximize chances of being accepted off the Waitlist? By judiciously showing continued interest in and knowledge of the school without inundating the admissions office or becoming annoying.

  • Send in your card or click the button showing that you do want to remain on the waitlist
  • Express in a letter continued interest, show knowledge of the school and the program of interest
  • Visit the campus if not visited before
  • Some colleges have a link to upload additional information after application. Submit if you really have something significant to add, e.g. National Merit, Eagle Scout, Siemens Science Award, etc.
  • Send another letter of recommendation only if it really adds something new to your application-a new mentor you have worked with, for example.
  • Submit 3rd quarter senior grades if stellar


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