Parke Muth is a former associate dean of admissions at University of Virginia and an independent college counselor. In his most recent blog post, he gives one of the frankest, most thorough discussions of the admissions waitlist—what it means, why colleges use them, and how to determine your odds of being moved to a yes.
This is not “Five Easy Tips to Improve your Odds of Being Taken off the Waitlist.” Muth wades into the deep end and actually explains both the reasoning and the numbers behind this policy that’s become so rampant at selective colleges.
I did particularly enjoy this advice, which echoes a lot of my own from past posts:
“To me, most students would be much better off taking the time to embrace the school they have paid a deposit to attend. Start wearing the school sweatshirt, start filling out all the stuff that the schools send, gets on the entering class Facebook page etc. Start imaging a great life ahead instead of focusing on what will likely not happen.”
Some of the statistics and harsh truths might be difficult for students stuck on a waitlist to read right now. But as much as it might give you some relief to be encouraged, I think it’s just as important to give you useful, honest information that can actually help you make good decisions (especially when the college that waitlisted you has only given you a “maybe”).